Beijing, Jul 26 (UNI) In a testimony to the growing strength of the Olympic movement, the Beijing Games, kicking off on August 8, would see a record participation of 50 badminton teams, including six from Africa.
''The wider participation was a result of the development of the sport and a reform by the World Badminton Federation (WBF),'' Ren Chunhui, executive vice-director of the badminton competing venue - Beijing University of Technology - was qouted as saying by the Xinhua news agency.
There were 32 teams for the Athens Olympics fours years ago, and only one- South Africa- came from the African continent, Ren said.
However, the wider participation of shuttlers came after WBF introduced a new rule which stipulates that a country or region could have at most three shuttlers for one event and all of them must be among the world's top four. The new rule not only offered top positions to badminton superpowers but benefited other teams.
Beijing will see a total of 173 shuttlers fighting for five gold medals.
There will be 41 players for the men's singles and 47 in the women's singles. The men's, women's and mixed doubles will have 16 pairs each.
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