Badminton World Federation, the sport’s world governing body, has approved the use of synthetic feather shuttlecocks for all sanctioned tournaments from 2021.
The first synthetic shuttlecock approved by BWF has been developed by Japanese sports equipment manufacturer Yonex, and tested at three BWF-sanctioned international tournaments last year. The new synthetic shuttle seems more durable, but provides similar flight and performance, and could reduce feather shuttlecock usage by up to 25 per cent, allowing the sport to reduce its environmental footprint, as well as reducing costs.
BWF secretary-general Thomas Lund said in a statement: “The vision is to ensure the long-term sustainability of badminton and become less dependent of using natural feathers for shuttlecocks.”
“We heard from some of the elite players involved in the testing of the Yonex synthetic feather shuttlecock that they were able to adjust to the slight variances between the synthetic feather version and the traditional natural feather shuttlecock quite quickly, so that is great news for the performance of the shuttle.
“We believe this leads to greater acceptance and widespread use of synthetic feather shuttlecocks from 2021 and beyond.”
Following this decision, BWF has made it possible for shuttlecock manufacturers to seek approval under the BWF Equipment Approval scheme for versions of their synthetic feather shuttlecocks to be used in international competitions.
It is expected there will be an implementation period of a number of years before the synthetic feather shuttlecock will be more widely used, as the production capacity and general availability of new synthetic products will slowly increase to cover the expected demand.
It will be up to the various tournament hosts in cooperation with any brands having an approved synthetic feather shuttlecock available, to decide in which tournaments the new synthetic feather shuttlecock version will be used.