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Badminton looks for sexy and glamorous image

Singapore: Badminton's bid to make women players wear skirts may have been ill-advised, but the sport is again seeking a "sexy" new image to bring in fans and revenue.

India's Jwala Gutta (right) and Ashwini Ponnappa are comfortable wearing skirts
India's Jwala Gutta (right) and Ashwini Ponnappa are comfortable wearing skirts 

Even in China, where badminton has mass participation and world-beating stars, its visibility dims in the glare of more glamorous rivals like NBA basketball, football and tennis.

Now everything is on the table as badminton looks to capitalise on its wide appeal and gain a profile that will bring sponsors running and turn its players into millionaires.

New scoring, new advertising and even new shuttlecocks and court colours are being considered as badminton looks to shed its staid image and stand out in the digital age. Owen Leed, who heads the Badminton World Federation's (BWF) new commercial division created last year, said the sport needs cachet if it is to compete.

Leed preferred not to discuss the infamous move to gain popularity by making women players wear skirts, which was finally shelved in 2012 following howls of protest.

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