Over the last decade or so, the Badminton World Federation (BWF), formerly known as the International Badminton Federation (IBF), has embarked on a series of changes that is slowly but surely giving the sport the recognition it truly deserves.
The BWF introduced the Super Series format to showcase badminton at a higher level of competitiveness, to increase television coverage for the sport and to increase the star quality and popularity of the top players in the world through a wider television audience.
The Super Series is a twelve tournaments series designed to attract the top 32 players from around the world with a minimum of USD $ 200,000 prize money for each tournament. Hosted from January through to December each year the events are usually hosted in pairs in a similar region of the world - since 2007 January, the Malaysian Super Series serves as the opening leg of all Super Series each year.
The Finals itself held at the end of all the twelve series is the richest ever badminton tournament to be staged offering a staggering US$ 500,000 in prize money and Malaysia took the pride playing host to its inaugural from 18th to 21st December 2008 in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.
Korea, England, Switzerland, Singapore, Indonesia, Japan, Denmark, France and Hong Kong China will each host one leg of the Super Series with China being given the right to host two legs.
Only the top eight singles and top eight pairs in each category, with a maximum of two players/pairs per country would qualify for the Finals.
The BWF in its effort to make the twelve Super Series more exciting, has also restricted the number of entries for each category to 32, of which only four will come from qualifiers.
There will also be an increased television coverage worldwide, with each host required to guarantee the live telecast of the semi finals and finals.
Since the inception of the Super Series two years ago, the Malaysia Open Super Series had attracted top players from around the world ranging from World Champions to Olympic gold medalists, and we are proud that our players had never failed to grab the titles in singles and doubles categories. It is our hope that our players will be able to maintain this track record again this year.
The Malaysia Open is our flagship event that had a long history back in 1937. It had been a major platform for our players to achieve great heights and this had been proven with our players gaining accolades in Thomas Cups and the Olympics. It is also considered as an "annual festival" for all the badminton fans in and out of Malaysia in gathering to witness and support their favourite players in action. With US$ 200,000 prize money up for grabs, the 2009 edition will again be expected to see fierce and competitive quality matches amongst participating players.
The Super Series is certainly going to elevate the profile of badminton to a more deserving status and Badminton Association of Malaysia is proud to be part of this success story.