BWF’s new tour­na­ment for­mat

New Straits Times - - Sport -

THE Bad­minton World Fed­er­a­tion (BWF) yes­ter­day un­veiled a new tour­na­ment struc­ture for 2018-2021.

Fea­tur­ing six lev­els, the sea­son fi­nale of­fers a to­tal prize money of US$1.5 mil­lion (RM6.6m) and is the only tour­na­ment in Level One.

There will be three tour­na­ments in Level Two hosted by China, Eng­land and In­done­sia of­fer­ing a to­tal prize money of US$1 mil­lion.

Malaysia, de­spite in­creas­ing its prize money to US$700,000 from US$600,000, will host a Level Three tour­na­ment along with China, Den­mark, France and Ja­pan.

Level Four tour­na­ments will of­fer a to­tal prize money of US$350,000 fol­lowed by Level Five (US$150,000) and Level Six which is an open cat­e­gory, where BWF mem­ber as­so­ci­a­tions can ap­ply for sanc­tion.

“The sport of bad­minton is grow­ing and it is get­ting more ex­cit­ing,” said BWF sec­re­tary gen­eral Thomas Lund fol­low­ing the world body’s coun­cil meet­ing in Kuala Lumpur.

“It’s not an easy de­ci­sion be­cause now we have only three tour­na­ments in Level Two and five in Level Three.

“So many coun­tries have bid and I know that most Malaysians or even the BAM (BA of Malaysia) may be dis­ap­pointed that they are not up there.

“But bear in mind that all eight tour­na­ments in Level Two and Three were still awarded to coun­tries who are ma­jor play­ers as far as the sport in con­cerned.

“Malaysia have got two tour­na­ments in Level Three and Four and they have in­creased their prize money. That means they still main­tain their po­si­tion as a top tour­na­ment.

“This de­ci­sion was made not just based on the prize money but there are many as­pects that were con­sid­ered.”

On whether the tour­na­ments’ names would be changed, Lund said: “Well that is an­other ex­cit­ing pro­posal that we are look­ing into but I am not able to share about it yet.

“We are still dis­cussing it and we will in­form ev­ery­body once it is all fi­nalised hope­fully be­fore the end of this year.”

Meanwhile, BAM gen­eral man­ager Lawrence Chew said de­spite not be­ing a Level Two tour­na­ment, the increase in prize money for both tour­na­ments is a huge step for­ward.

“I don’t know how to say this but I don’t want to just feel dis­ap­pointed to­day (yes­ter­day) that we were not awarded a Level Two tour­na­ment.

“To us, the US$1 mil­lion prize money is a risk fac­tor, and we are look­ing at ways to im­prove our­selves.

“We have still main­tained our premier sta­tus and have also se­cured spon­sors for the new cy­cle. Also hav­ing a sec­ond tour­na­ment that of­fers US$350,000 is a huge step.

“Peo­ple would want to com­pare with other coun­tries, but I think we shouldn’t and should look at how we can im­prove fur­ther,” said Lawrence. Fabian Peter

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