BWF’s new tournament format
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