In a major revamp, the Badminton Association of India (BAI) on Monday announced the introduction of a multi-level domestic tournament structure, which will have a combined prize money of approximately Rs 2 crore. The decision to restructure the domestic tournament set-up was taken at the Executive Council meeting of BAI 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," the national federation said in a statement.
"A multi-level tournament structure at the senior level with close to Rs 2 crore as prize money has been introduced which will help to create a sustained pool of excellence."
The revamped structure will have three levels of tournaments -- Level 1, 2 and 3 respectively. The highest level, Level 1, will come with a Rs 25 lakh purse. The BAI Premier Super Series Tournament which will have restricted entry with main draws only. In a league-cum-knockout format, top eight singles players in BWF rankings and top four pairs in BWF rankings below 100 will be eligible for direct entry. Besides, top 24 singles players and 12 teams as per BAI rankings will also get direct entry.
The senior national championships will also have more incentive for players as the total prize has been raised to Rs 50 lakh for the winner. Earlier, the full purse for the event stood at Rs 1 crore. "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," said BAI General Secretary Ajay K Singhania.
In Level 2, four BAI Super Series Badminton Tournaments will be held, which will have Rs 15 lakh as prize money for individual events. The top 48 singles players and 24 doubles pairs, as per BAI rankings, will get direct entry into the main draw entry. The Level 3 will consist of 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 doubles events, as per BAI ranking, will get direct main draw entries.
While the first three tournaments will be held from May to June, the next three will be held in November. Besides, players with ranking points from Level 3 tournaments will also be eligible for the qualifying draw. The first couple of tournaments at this level will be in July with the last two in December.
"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," said BAI President Himanta Biswa Sarma.