The Badminton Association of India (BAI) has decided to revamp the domestic tournament set-up in order to have a performance-oriented approach and to find the best talents from across the country who can be groomed to represent India at the international level. A multi-level tournament structure at the senior level with close to INR 2 crores as prize money has been introduced which will help to create a sustained pool of excellence. The decision was taken at the Executive Council (EC) meeting held on February 9 in Hyderabad.
The revamped structure will have three levels of tournaments with the Level 3 having 6 BAI Series Badminton Tournaments in a year with INR 10 lakhs as prize money for each tournament. With no restriction on entry in qualifying, 30 singles players and 15 in paired events as per BAI Ranking will get direct main draw entries. While the first three tournaments will be held from May to June, next three will follow in November.
In Level 2, 4 BAI Super Series Badminton Tournaments will be held, which will have INR 15 lakhs as prize money for individual tournaments. The top 48 singles players and 24 doubles pairs as per BAI Ranking will get direct main-draw entry and players with ranking points from Level 3 tournaments will also be eligible for qualifying draw. The first couple of tournaments at this level will be in July with the last two in December.
“BAI’s goal is not only to unearth the best talents who can sustain a high level of play at international tournaments, but also to create a sustainable domestic structure backed with sizeable prize money to benefit players,” said BAI President Himanta Biswa Sarma.
The highest level will see an INR 25 lakh-worth BAI Premier Super Series Tournament which will have a restricted-entry event with main draws only. In a league-cum-knockout format, top 8 singles players in BWF Rankings and top 4 pairs in BWF Rankings below 100 BWF Rank are eligible for direct entry. Besides, top 24 singles players and 12 teams as per BAI Rankings will also get direct entry. The Senior Nationals will be part of the Level 1 tournament with a INR 50 lakhs prize money.
“This rejig of the entire structure will test the very best and will help us to get the cream of players who can be groomed for international tournaments for the biggest tournaments,” said BAI General Secretary Ajay K Singhania.