The Badminton Association of India has announced a major revamp of its domestic structure dividing it into multi-levels which combined will be worth Rs 2 crore prize money. The decision for the major overhaul was taken at BAI’s executive council meeting in Hyderabad on Sunday.
“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,” BAI said in a media release on Monday.
There will be three levels of tournaments – Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3. The highest prize money, worth Rs 25 lakh, will be for Level 3, Level 2 will be worth Rs 15 lakh and Level 3 Rs 10 lakh.
As per the new structure, the Level 1 will comprise Senior Nationals and BAI Premier Super Series tournament. The Premier Super Series will be a league-cum-knockout format with top eight singles players (as per BWF rankings) and top four pairs in BWF Rankings below 100 BWF Rank are eligible for direct entry.
The Senior Nationals will be part of the Level 1 tournament with Rs 50 lakh prize money.
“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,” BAI president Himanta Biswa Sarma said.
Level 2 consists of four BAI Super Series Badminton Tournaments which will be worth Rs 15 lakh in 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.
The Level 3 will have six BAI Series badminton tournaments in a year with Rs 10 lakh 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.
“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,” BAI General Secretary Ajay K Singhania said.