KUALA LUMPUR , March 20 — Badminton World Federation (BWF) have unveiled a new tournament structure, with increased prize money to raise the sport’s profile.
The new series, featuring six levels, will be launched next year and will run until 2021, with at least a US$1 million (RM4.44 million) in prize money in each of their top four events.
BWF president, Poul-Erik Hoyer announced the new tournament structure after a council meeting yesterday.
“The time is right for badminton to soar even higher and our key goals are to showcase our sport at a high level of presentation and competitiveness, to increase television coverage for the sport and to increase the star quality and popularity of the top players globally,” Hoyer said.
The new series will boast one event in Level 1 — the signature season finale with US$1.5 million (RM6.66 million) up for grabs.
Level 2 will have three, US$1 million events in China, England and Indonesia.
There will be five Level 3 events with US$700,000 (RM3.11 million) in prize money, seven Level 4 tournaments with US$350,000 (RM1.55 million) to be won and 11 in Level 5 offering US$150,000 (RM665,624) each.
China, Denmark, France, Japan and Malaysia will host Level 3 tournaments while Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand will stage Level 4 events.
Australia, Taiwan, Germany, India, South Korea, Macau, New Zealand, Spain, Switzerland, Thailand and USA have been awarded Level 5 events.
The tour will involve 37 events, including Level 6 which will be an open category where BWF member associations can apply for sanctioning.
Meanwhile, BA of Malaysia (BAM) were not disappointed despite failing to win the right to host a Level 2 tournament.
BAM general manager Lawrence Chew said most importantly Malaysia still have two major tournaments.
“I don’t think we lost anything,” he said after Malaysia were awarded rights to Level 3 and 4 competitions.
BWF secretary general, Thomas Lund said the selections were tough and they took a long time before finalising the hosts.
“It is not easy to please all the countries. There are only three Level 1 tournaments and we had to choose carefully,” he said.
“Malaysia remain at Level Two so they have not lost anything.
“Malaysia is still important to us.”