Why world no. 2 Satwik-Chirag failed to qualify for World Tour Finals
Satwik-Chirag had a fantastic year. They achieved many goals, including winning the Asian Games gold and attaining the world no. 1 ranking. Yet, Satwik-Chirag failed to qualify for the prestigious World Tour Finals. We explained why.
The Badminton World Federation (BWF) announced its list of eight qualified players and pairs in each of the five disciplines for the season-ending World Tour Finals, the richest tournament in the sport's calendar, on November 30.
The players with the most points from the year's events of the BWF World Tour are eligible to compete for a total prize money of $2,500,000.
The qualification criteria span to 14 best tournaments over 52 weeks. But the BWF considers only the best 10 performances in the same period.
PV Sindhu is the only Indian shuttler to have won the prestigious tournament. She achieved the feat in 2018.
However, for the first time in 13 years, there will be no Indian representation in the prestigious tournament. The last time India missed a berth in the tournament was in 2010 when the World Tour Finals was known as the BWF Superseries Finals. The World Tour Finals succeeded the BWF Superseries Finals in 2018.
Since the tournament has been rechristened either Saina Nehwal, PV Sindhu, or Kidambi Srikanth and HS Prannoy held up the Indian flag in the tournament.
At the last edition of the World Tour Finals, Prannoy was the lone Indian huttler to compete. He in fact brought to an end eventual champion world no. 1 Viktor Axelsen's winning march in a pool match.
Despite attaining world no. 1 ranking in October and presently being ranked world no. 2, Satwik and Chirag surprisingly failed to qualify for the event.
They had a remarkable season, winning the Swiss Open Super 300, Indonesia Open Super 1000, Korea Open Super 500, Asian Games gold and finishing runner-up at the China Masters Super 750. Yet, they could not make the cut.
Satwik-Chirag is ranked tenth in the Race to BWF World Tour Finals, a separate ranking system that the world body operates parallelly to world rankings.
This year, the cut-off date for the qualification was November 21. Satwik and Chirag were ranked 13th in the Race to World Tour rankings at that time with 69,240 points.
After the China Masters, where they lost the final against Liang Wei Keng and Wang Chang, the Indian rose three places to be ranked 10th with 78,590 points.
But only the top eight pairs were eligible to qualify for the event which eventually forced Satwik-Chirag, one of the top pairs in the world, to miss the event.
Laing and Wang topped the Race to World Tour Finals with 100,740 points, and the last pair to secure a spot was Muhammad Fikri and Bagas Maulana, who accumulated 80,800 points in 52 weeks.
China Masters was the last of the stipulated 14 events for the Indian pair in the BWF's round-the-year Race to the World Tour Finals cycle. It must be noted that Satwik and Chirag's Asian Games gold medal-winning performance was not considered in this ranking system.
They also made five first and four second-round exits this season.
As the rest of the wins could not accumulate enough points for them to rise in the Race to World Tour Rankings, they eventually missed the cut. As for the world no. 1 ranking they gained was an accumulation of points they earned over all the seasons.