Singapore Open may see change in dates

(L_R)Mr Micheal Foo, Secrectary-General, SBA, Mr Francis Koh, Chairman, Organising Committee Li-ning Singapore Open 2013 and Mr Lee Yi Shyan, President, SBA.

SINGAPORE - The Li-Ning Singapore Open may be played in April instead of its traditional June dates from next year.

The marquee badminton event will take place at the Singapore Indoor Stadium from June 18 to 23 this year, but the competition is scheduled for April 8 to 13 next year on the Badminton World Federation's (BWF) calendar.

When contacted, Singapore Badminton Association (SBA) chief executive officer Bobby Lee said: "The dates are not confirmed yet as we have not signed the contract with the BWF."

Added SBA secretary general Michael Foo (right): "We want to do some tweaking of the dates and try to get the best dates for Singapore."

It is understood that the move was mooted by the BWF at the start of the year, ahead of the next cycle of the Osim BWF World Superseries tournaments from next year to 2017.

Last September, Singapore put in a bid to host the higher- tier Superseries Premier tournament - which boasts of higher prize money and ranking points, and is mandatory for all top 10 singles and doubles players.

While they failed in their bid - China, Denmark, England, Malaysia and Indonesia got the nod - Singapore retained its Superseries status for the next four years.

Superseries and Superseries Premier events in the same region are typically "paired" to maximise players' trips to different parts of the world.

The Singapore Open is currently paired with the highertier Indonesia Open, with the possibility of marquee players such as world No. 1 Lee Chong Wei and Chinese world No. 2 Chen Long considering a detour to the Republic en route to the compulsory Indonesia Open.

Said Mohan Dharan, Li-Ning Singapore Open's tournament director: "For now we are paired with Indonesia and not all the top players who have to go there will win.

"Since they have travelled to Indonesia, they may consider coming to Singapore to win some prize money, since (top players) Lee Chong Wei or Chen Long may not come."

However, the Republic will be paired with the India Open - another Superseries tournament - next year, raising the possibility that marquee players may skip both tournaments altogether.

sayheng@sph.com.sg


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