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Badminton: India Open to be held in May, domestic tournaments to resume in April
New Delhi, January 31, 2021
India Open, one of the prestigious tournaments in the badminton calendar and also the final qualifying tournament for the Tokyo Olympics, will be held in a ''dazzling atmosphere" at the revamped Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium here in in May.
This and other decisions were taken during a meeting of the Executive Committee of the Badminton Association of India (BAI) on Saturday.
The much-awaited domestic badminton circuit will begin from April as BAI has decided to resume the senior ranking tournaments with the revamped structure.
The revamped domestic structure promises to provide opportunities to budding shuttlers to showcase their talents. The senior ranking tournament will now be classified into three levels wherein Level 3 will have 6 series tournaments in the year while Level 2 will have 4 Super Series tournaments.
The Premier Super Series Tournament is bracketed as the Level 1 tournament which will have two tournaments per year. The tournaments will also see a lucrative prize money with Level 1 being valued at Rs 25 lakh. Level 2 and Level 3 will have Rs 15 lakh and 10 lakh prize money for the respective tier tournaments while there will be Rs 50 lakh for the Senior Nationals Championships.
Both the tournaments, which will initiate the restart of badminton in the country, will be part of the Level 3 tournaments and will be played with a draw of 64 in singles and 32 in doubles with hosts receiving 2 quotas in singles and 1 in doubles. There will be no restrictions in the number of qualification participation though 32 entries from singles and 16 from doubles will progress through the qualifiers.
Alongside resumption of tournaments, BAI has also decided to recommence all the national camps for senior and juniors shuttlers from April. The junior shuttlers, who are potential prospects for the 2024 and 2028 Olympic Game and are part of the Junior Tops Scheme, will be included as part of this camp.
These junior shuttlers will be training in the five BAI-SAI junior academies in Guwahati, Panchkula, Gopichand-SAI badminton Academy, PPBA-Bangalore and Babu Banarsi Das Badminton Academy in Lucknow. The juniors’ training will be initiated in a phased manner.
The selection of the coaches will also be completed ahead of the camps by March.
"It’s has been a tough time for our players as well as all the stakeholders associated with the game who had to sit out for such a long time. However, the arrival of the vaccine has brought new hope and confidence, and after deliberating and evaluating the tournament execution plans and the safety protocols, I can say, we are confident of the resumption,” said BAI President Himanta Biswa Sarma.
“While our focus was on the resumption of the sport, we ensured players' safety remained as our top-most priority. Though the situation is getting better gradually in the country, we will not compromise on players’ health while conducting these tournaments," he added.
"The new tournament structure and revised prize money will not only encourage and bring positivity in the ecosystem, but we also hope this structure will ensure more exposure to potential and new talents in the country,” BAI General Secretary Ajay Singhania said.