Badminton Life

Malaysia to Stage Masters Finals

After months of uncertainty, world governing body Badminton World Federation (BWF) was able to announce the Malaysian city of Kota Kinabalu as the host for the Super Series Masters Final.

The December 18-21 tournament will offer US$500,000 in prize money and feature the top eight singles and doubles players after 12 legs of the Super Series over the previous 12 months.

This means that China's Olympic champion Lin Dan will not be able to play because he will not have done enough to qualify for the grand finale to the season.

World number two Lin has yet to play any tournaments since winning the Olympic gold medal in mid-August.

He has played three Super Series tournaments this year and is currently in eighth place. But rules require a player to have taken part in at least eight tournaments to earn the right to play in the Masters Finals.

Even with Lin's absence, BWF can still breathe a sigh of relief that the event is taking place after the embarrassment of last year.

That was when, in the Super Series' inaugural season, the Grand Finals was cancelled because of a lack of sponsorship.

It was scheduled to take place in Doha, the capital of Qatar but, in the end, there was no Masters. This season, BWF, the Badminton Association of Malaysia and Yonex Sunrise have joined forces to ensure the tournament takes place.

BWF secretary general Stuart Borrie was quoted as saying: "We were disappointed last year. But we have some good partners to make it happen this year."

However, BWF may want to revisit its eight-tournament rule because, not only Lin, but other players would also miss out if they enforce it strictly.

World number one Lee Chong Wei has only played seven tournaments this season and, if he decides against playing any more this year, would also be prevented from playing.

The loss of the world's top two players would seriously affect the tournament's credibility at a time when badminton is doing its best to raise its profile as a global sport.

The Super Series was launched in 2007 with the aim of providing better tournaments with higher prize money and increasing the popularity of the sport.

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