Tai and Chen on track for record prize-winnings

Badminton’s top prize winners of last year could be on their way to breaking records in 2017, as both Tai Tzu Ying and Chen Qingchen had won well over half […]

Badminton’s top prize winners of last year could be on their way to breaking records in 2017, as both Tai Tzu Ying and Chen Qingchen had won well over half their 2016 totals when the numbers were tallied for the first six months of the year.

By Don Hearn.  Photos: Badmintonphoto

Tai Tzu Ying of Chinese Taipei earned more from than any other badminton player in 2016, hauling in US$271,025.  Badzine has compiled the list of top prize-winners in Badminton for five of the last six years and the highest total we’ve seen so far is Chen Long’s 2015 total of US$298,413.  But that ‘record’ could well be on the verge of falling.

The Badminton World Federation (BWF) reported earlier this week that Tai won $133,125 from January to June of this year, but once you add in the sizable sum she earned at the Badminton Asia Championships – inexplicably left out of the BWF calculations – her total goes up to $157,500.  If she maintains that pace for the rest of the year, she could be the first badminton player – in our compilations – to break the US$300,000 mark for a calendar year.

China’s Chen Qingchen, too, could be on a record-setting run.  She has won 5 titles this year, to Tai’s 4, and she is once again the most handsomely rewarded doubles player.  Last year, she was less than a thousand dollars from Zhao Yunlei’s 2014 figure of $246,144, which is the most we have seen a doubles player pull down in a single year.  Again, the BWF reported most of Chen’s 2017 winnings but did not combine her women’s and mixed doubles figures, not were her modest winnings from Wuhan included.  Once the three numbers are summed, however, we find that Chen is already at over $140,000 for the year, well over half of her own or Zhao Yunlei’s top winnings figure.

The BWF pointed to Srikanth’s $147,847.50 as being the top dollar figure for the first half of the year but as he did not play in the continental championships, his total stands second to Tai’s.  Indeed, if the Indian singles star can double that figure by the end of December, he may well have won more money than anyone but Chen Long but his 2017 account may still not have the deposits of the two leading ladies.

The prospects for Srikanth, Chen, or Tai maintaining their pace of winning matches are anyone’s guess.  However, if they keep winning, they certainly have the chance to continue getting paid like they have so far.  True, the three most lucrative non-Superseries events – the Badminton Asia Championships, the China Masters, and the Chinese Taipei Open – have already finished but the total prize money for the last 7 Superseries tournaments, including the million-dollar Superseries Finals in Dubai, are worth just a tiny bit more than the first six combined were.

Walks like a record and talks like a record, but…

As for whether Chen Long truly has the record for calendar year prize winnings, this is not a proven hypothesis.  It is highly unlikely that anyone could have collected more winnings than that before the Superseries Premier ushered in the era of million-dollar prize purses for badminton events.  However, we cannot reliably call it a record without running the pre-2011 numbers.

Don Hearn

About Don Hearn

Don Hearn is an Editor and Correspondent who hails from a badminton-loving town in rural Canada. He joined the Badzine team in 2006 to provide coverage of the Korean badminton scene and is committed to helping Badzine to promote badminton to the place it deserves as a global sport. Contact him at: don @ badzine.net