** This NEW SHUTTLENWS REPORT is presented by badminton world champions YANG YANG (1987 and 1989) and ZHAO JIAN HUA (1991) and by YANG YANG BADMINTON PRODUCTS **

January 4, 1998 (NEW SHUTTLENWS) - The severe downturn in the economies of the several Asian countries like Malaysia, Indonesia, Hong Kong and Korea has finally hit the sport of badminton hard. The poor economic conditions in Korea has forced the Korean Badminton Association to cancel this year's edition of the Korean Open.

The Open was scheduled to be held in Seoul from January 6 to 11 and had an announced purse of US 250,000 dollars mostly from Samsung, the Korean chaebol or conglomerate. However, with most of the chaebols in financial distress and with the Korean won having lost most of its value, the tournament organizers were faced with a choice of holding a scaled-down tourney with less prize money or not staging the Open at all. With the newly elected Korean government also calling for austerity and spending restraints and in fact asking for citizens to help out with donations of jewelry in order to improve the won, the Korean association has chosen to cancel the Open.

The cancellation of the tournament is not going to be the only impact on badminton of the Asian contagion, the term used by economic journalists to describe the economic woes facing Korea and several other Asian countries. Other tournaments may be cancelled or may be scaled down, although national pride in countries like Indonesia and Malaysia may prevent the outright cancellation or scaling down of the Indonesian and Malaysian Opens.

Badminton associations in Korea and Malaysia are also under budgetary restraints with primary sponsors and sports ministries either holding the line or reducing their subsidies. Additionally, foreign travel is being reduced or restricted by some of the governments and the open tournaments that do get held will have smaller contingents from the affected nations.

And for the regular player in these countries, badminton has become a more expensive sport to play with rackets, equipment and shuttles now costing up to two or three times more than before.