Badminton Life

Super Series Qualifiers Cut Down to 16 Players

From September, BWF will restrict the qualifying tournament from a 32-draw tournament to a 16-strong one. This means that each week, 16 players will lose out on the chance to qualify for the main draw of the sport's major events.

It has its good and bad points. On one hand, it means more competitive matches during the qualifying stages. On the other hand, fewer players have a chance to participate.

BWF sports committee chairman Anne Smillie said in a news article that a 16-strong qualifying draw will not pose such a big burden on tournament organisers.

She said: "We have found that the qualifying has become too big, almost a tournament in itself. It puts too big a strain on the qualifiers to come through three or four qualifying matches in one day and then be expected to perform in the first round proper the following day. It is just not realistic."

The Super Series was launched in January 2007 to bring badminton in line with other sports and to give players a chance to earn more money and use the sport as their livelihood.

All tournaments had to have a minimum of US$200,000 in prize money while BWF urged players to focus on individual glory rather than national pride during these events.

However, while the prize money increased, it wasn't all rosy with the much-anticipated season-ending 2007 Grand Finale cancelled because of a lack of sponsorship.

The tournament was scheduled for Qatar, which failed to attract suitable sponsorship. BWF wanted to postpone the event for mid-2008 but eventually decided to cancel the tournament altogether.

BWF officials, however, said last month that a sponsor has already been secured for the 2008 and 2009 events and an announcement will be made in due course.

There are nine Super Series events in September, following the Olympic Games, with Japan kicking of a sequence of tournaments that also comprise China, Denmark, France and Hong Kong.

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