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Badminton World Federation (BWF) Super Series

Tennis is one of the most popular and richest racquet sports in the world. There is a good old saying that money can't buy happiness but try telling that to the world's greatest badminton players.

The concerns and grievances of badminton players have a better chance of being addressed now with the formation of the Badminton World Federation (BWF) formerly known as the International Badminton Federation (IBF). The introduction of the 12- leg Super Series Badminton Event has increased the appetite of badminton players worldwide to win more tournaments.

Badminton may not yet be on par with tennis, but the distinction of being the fastest growing racquet sport has to go to Badminton. For the past decade or so, BWF (Badminton World Federation) has embarked on a series of changes that is slowly but surely giving the sport the recognition and respect it truly deserves.

The Super Series is one of the big and major steps that the BWF has made that would definitely increase the interest and popularity of the sport around the world. The Super Series event consists of 13 tournaments; 12 Grand prix events, with a minimum prize money of US$200,000, and the season ending tournament which is the Super Series Masters Finals which offers a staggering US$500,000 in prize money.

The BWF has not set any limits on the amount to be offered in each leg and have left it to the host country to decide if they want to offer more prize money. As for the season ending, Super Series Finals itself would be the richest ever badminton tournament ever held. Only the top 8 players (after the 12 open tournaments) will compete in the Super Series Finals. However, only a maximum of 2 players per country would qualify for the Finals.

Moreover, the Super Series will be held at Malaysia, Korea, England, Switzerland, Singapore, Indonesia, Japan, Denmark, France and Hong Kong. As for China, it has been given the opportunity to host 2 legs. The BWF has added more exciting changes, which allow only 4 qualifiers from each country to enter the main draw thus reducing the number of players in the main draw to 32.

The BWF has also decided not to separate the top 2 players of any country in different halves of the draw. Only the top 2 seeds have the privilege of being drawn into two different halves of the draw. This means that some of the top players of a country will be playing against each other in the early stages of the tournament. This happened at the recent Super Series Singapore Open, where Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia played his compatriot Muhd Hafiz Hashim in the first round.

Only the top 60 players in the world ranking would be able to get a direct entry to the Super Series Event, and, only the top 28 ranked would be able to enter the main draw. If any player from the top 60 ranked decides to pull out, then replacements are allowed. There will certainly be increased television coverage worldwide, with each host required to guarantee live telecast of the semi-finals and the finals.

Also, Sports Media Promotions, who are the marketing agents for the Super Series, have made a deal with IEC in Sports to produce a television series consisting of 36 episodes on the World of Badminton. It is an hour and a half long programme that will be telecast on all major television channels throughout the world.

The programme features highlights of all the Super Series events as well as keeping the badminton enthusiast up to date with the latest badminton news. In summary, the Super Series Event is definitely the break through that the sport of badminton needed and will certainly elevate badminton to the heights that it truly deserves.

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