Thu, Nov 22, 2007 - Page 20 News List

Qatar throw badminton Super Series into chaos

AFP , SINGAPORE

The finale to world badminton's flagship Super Series has been thrown into chaos after host Qatar failed to live up to its obligations and second choice Malaysia was ruled out as an alternative.

This week's China Masters and next week's Hong Kong Open will bring to an end a successful inaugural year for the Badminton World Federation's (BWF) Super Series circuit.

It is due to culminate in the Masters Final in Qatar from Dec. 18 to Dec. 23 but the gas-rich nation failed to get enough sponsorship to underpin the event.

The alternative venue, Alor Star in Malaysia, has also been ruled out as the dates clash with the Hari Raya Haji, a Muslim ceremony celebrating the Haj pilgrimage.

"BWF has been c that the finals were planned for December 18 to 23 in Qatar but have now been advised a switch of date and venue is necessary," chair of BWF's events committee Anne Smillie said.

"We have been advised that the anticipated sponsorship from Qatar, which would have underpinned the Masters, has not been achieved and Alor Star has been put forward as an alternative venue," Smillie said.

"But the proposed new dates of December 18 to 22 will not be possible because Malaysia's religious ceremony of Hari Raya Haji falls on December 20," she said.

Smillie said the federation remained in "close and urgent" discussions with Qatar to try to resolve the problems.

BWF executive deputy president Punch Gunalan added: "We are delighted with the success of the first 10 tournaments in this new 12-event circuit."

"Naturally BWF is aware of the frustration of our member associations regarding the Super Series Masters Final. We would like to stress that we are working hard to ensure the tournament proceeds and that all the players who qualify for the Masters have adequate time to prepare," he said.

The BWF revamped its tour this year to create the Super Series, reducing the seeds for major tournaments to eight and the number of players in the main draw to 32.

They also changed the rules so that players from the same country can be in the same half of the draw, in an attempt to make the game more competitive.

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