The Badminton World Federation (BWF) announced the host countries for the next cycle of the BWF World Superseries events during a press conference at the Sofitel Hotel in Bangkok, Thailand on Friday, following the November BWF Council meeting.
Story and photos by Gerald Jew, Badzine Correspondent live in Bangkok
The announcement by BWF President Kang Young Joong of the host countries for the 2014-2017 cycle of Superseries events, including both the five World Superseries Premier and seven World Superseries events left most of the host countries from the 2011-2013 cycle intact with some minor shuffling. However, the announcement did leave two hopeful countries disappointed and one new host country in particular, overjoyed.
The five hosts for World Superseries Premier events are:
All England Open
The announcement leaves China with one less Superseries tournament than before, moves the Malaysia Open up to Premier status – assuming the position abdicated by the Korea Open, which did not bid for a Premier this time – and the Australian Open becomes the newcomer to host a Superseries event. The remaining hosts for the 2014-2017 cycle retained their spots from the previous cycle.
Chinese Taipei and Thailand were two countries who joined the bidding to host a Superseries event, only to learn that their Superseries bids were rejected. Badminton Association of Thailand President Charoen Wattanasin (pictured below), when asked about his association’s losing his bid said, “I’m very disappointed, but I’m too old to cry.”
The Australians were probably the happiest contingent at the press conference. Badminton Australia and Badminton Oceania President Geraldine Brown said after the announcement, “I’m very, very happy. I think it demonstrates that the BWF is serious about being inclusive of all the federations. It’s a huge step for badminton in Oceania and badminton in general, and gives other regions hope as well. Destination NSW [the sponsors of Oceania’s bid] will be extremely happy, and we’re confident we can deliver a world class event for Oceania, New South Wales and Sydney.”
Loke Poh Wong of Badminton Oceania added, “We would like to thank the BWF for the opportunity, it will certainly lift the sport [of badminton] in the Oceania region.”
Badminton players from around the world should be very happy as well. The BWF has also announced that the Superseries Premier events will offer a minimum US $500,000 in prize money beginning in 2014, with the amount to increase $50,000 each year until 2017. Non-Premier Superseries events will offer a minimum US $250,000 beginning in 2014 with a minimum increase of $25,000 each year through 2017.
Also announced at the press conference was a decision to introduce a Thomas Cup-style dual-draw system for the Rio Olympics in an effort to reduce the likelihood of match-throwing such as happened in London.
In addition, BWF Deputy President Paisan Rangsikitpho gave more details about the instant-replay system that was first announced a few months ago. Apparently, the “technology will involve a combination of high-speed, slow-motion cameras” and will be “based on a challenge system which would be available to players during their matches”. It is expected to have a trial run in early 2013.
Meanwhile, Thailand seemed to get two consolation prizes, along with the unfortunate news that they were not granted one of the 7 World Superseries events. One which had already been announced was that Bangkok would be hosting the BWF World Junior Championships in 2013 and the other was the presentation, by BWF President Dr. Kang Young Joong, of the inaugural BWF President’s Medal to His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand for his “outstanding lifetime contribution to badminton”.