Guwahati: The domestic badminton circuit is set to begin from April with a revamped structure owing to COVID-19 pandemic, announced Badminton Association of India (BAI) on Saturday. The BAI has decided to resume the senior ranking tournaments with the revamped structure. The decision was taken during BAI’s executive committee meeting on Saturday, said a BCI statement. Owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, the BAI state unit members were connected virtually from all parts of India.
The revamped domestic structure promises to provide opportunities to budding shuttlers to showcase their talent. The senior ranking tournament will now be classified into three levels wherein Level 3 will have six series tournaments in the year while Level 2 will have four Super Series tournaments, said the statement.
The Premier Super Series Tournament is bracketed as the Level 1 tournament, which will have two tournaments per year. The tournaments will also see lucrative prize money with Level 1 being valued at Rs 25 lakh. Level 2 and Level 3 will have Rs 15 lakh and Rs 10 lakh prize money for the respective tier tournaments while Rs 50 lakh for the Senior Nationals Championships.
Both 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 two quotas in singles and one 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.
“It’s has been a tough time for our players as well as all the stake holders 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,” BAI President Himanta Biswa Sarma said in an official release.
Alongside the 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 Games, and are part of the Junior Tops Scheme, will be included as part of this camp.
The meeting also saw discussions about the upcoming India Open, scheduled in May, which is one of the prestigious tournaments in the badminton calendar and will also be the final qualifying tournament for Tokyo Olympics.
To make the event memorable one for players as well as spectators, BAI has been setting up a dazzling atmosphere at the revamped Indira Gandhi Stadium.