The excitement is building as the countdown to the BWF Destination Dubai World Superseries Finals begins, with less than 100 days to go until the world’s badminton elite arrive in Dubai.
Just four tournaments remain on the 12-stop MetLife BWF World Superseries calendar for 2014 before the highest-ranked players converge on Dubai’s Hamdan Sports Complex (HSC) from December 17-21 to compete for a share of the USD$1 million prize purse.
Held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, the World Superseries Finals are to be staged in Dubai each December until 2017 as part of a four-year partnership, facilitated by Falcon and Associates, with the Badminton World Federation (BWF). Sporting brand Yonex has been announced as the event’s official equipment supplier.
Only the eight top-ranked players from the Destination Dubai Superseries Rankings in Men’s and Women’s Singles, Men’s and Women’s Doubles and Mixed Doubles will earn a place at the big-money tournament.
Speaking at a press conference today, Thomas Lund, BWF Secretary General said: “Badminton is an exciting, fast-paced game and there are no better ambassadors to promote the sport around the world than its top players.”
“The partnership with Dubai represents a key opportunity for us to gain exposure for the increasingly-popular MetLife World Superseries in a growing market and align ourselves with Dubai, whose global connectivity, accessibility and track record in hosting world-class sporting events will make badminton accessible to more fans around the world.”
Leading the charge to Dubai in the men’s singles category is defending Superseries Finals title-holder, Lee Chong Wei, the 2014 Li-Ning BWF World Championship silver medalist. He enjoys a significant buffer zone of more than 18,560 ranking points between him and nearest challenger, reigning World champion, Chen Long of China.
The fight for top spot in Women’s Singles is much closer with just 6,060 points separating China’s two top-ranked players, 2012 Olympic champion, Li Xuerui and former world No. 1, Wang Shixian.
While the world’s most accomplished players vie for all-important ranking points in the remaining Superseries qualification tournaments in Denmark, France, China and Hong Kong, Dubai’s young badminton players will be taking steps to secure the future of a growing sport.
Dubai’s partnership with the Badminton World Federation has also seen the BWF’s grassroots programme “Shuttle Time” brought to the city. Operating in 71 countries, Shuttle Time encourages people from all walks of life to take up badminton.
Shuttle Time Dubai was launched in July and will see teachers in 40 schools trained in how to coach badminton to more than 3,000 students aged eight to 16. The schools will also be supplied with equipment, suggested lesson plans and interactive learning material.
“Badminton is a sport that is open to everyone and there is already an active scene in Dubai,” said Dr Ahmad Al Sharif, Secretary-General of Dubai Sports Council. “That makes it an ideal vehicle for us to promote grassroots development throughout our communities. The partnership with the BWF, which was facilitated by Falcon and Associates, provides us with an exciting opportunity to build on that interest, to promote the sport to new levels and to develop grassroots initiatives such as Shuttle Time Dubai that will help to drive community engagement and physical activity across the city.”
“The BWF Destination Dubai World Superseries Finals gives spectators the opportunity to watch elite athletes competing for one of the biggest purses in the game. We encourage badminton followers, as well as anyone who simply enjoys seeing world-class sport, to purchase tickets and watch the tournament.”
Speaking in support of the event, Alastair Ruxton, Commercial and Legal Director at Falcon and Associates, who facilitated the partnership, said: “The World Superseries Finals in Dubai will mark the first time that the event has been held in the MENASA region, home to one of the world’s youngest and fastest growing populations. In addition, the Superseries Finals will further add to Dubai’s impressive sporting portfolio which already includes a strong list of high-profile international events.”