Selangor Journal
National men’s doubles shuttlers Aaron Chia and Soh Wooi Yik in action during the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games at the National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham, UK, on August 7, 2022. — Picture via FACEBOOK/BERNAMA

WTF: Significant rise in prize money fuels our motivation — Aaron

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 8 — The more money, the better.

National top men’s doubles shuttler Aaron Chia believes the substantial increase in prize money for this year’s World Tour Finals (WTF) will spur him to perform much better with his partner Soh Wooi Yik in the season-ending tournament in Hangzhou, China, from December 13 to December 17.

“Earning the prize money is similar to getting an ‘ang pau’. The money offered is good for badminton as a whole,” he told a press conference today ahead of the WTF 2023.

Last month, the Badminton World Federation (BWF) announced that WTF remains the richest badminton tournament in the world, with the sport’s governing body committing a whopping US$11.5 million (RM53.7 million) in prize money over four years.

According to the BWF, the total prize pool for the finals this year and next year is US$2.5 million (RM11.7 million) each, while US$3 million (RM14 million) will be awarded in the 2025 edition, followed by US$3.5 million (RM16.3 million) in 2026.

In comparison, US$1.5 million (RM7 million) was offered for the 2022 edition in Nimibutr Arena, Bangkok.

Chia said the year’s competition is wide open as all pairs are equally strong.

“In men’s doubles, any pair can take the title. The key to victory is staying consistent,” he said.

Chia addied they feel no pressure despite failing to go beyond the group stage in their last three appearances at the WTF (2019, 2020 and 2021).

The other seven pairs who qualified for the 2023 edition are the world number one from China Liang Wei Keng – Wang Chang, Fajar Alfian – Muhammad Rian Ardianto (Indonesia), Kang Min Hyuk – Seo Seung Jae (South Korea), Takuro Hoki – Yugo Kobayashi (Japan), Kim Astrup – Anders Skaarup Rasmussen (Denmark), Liu Yu Chen – Ou Xuan Yi (China), and Muhammad Shohibul Fikri – Bagas Maulana (Indonesia).

The eight pairs will be divided into two groups, with the top two from each group advancing to the semi-finals.

The group stage draw is scheduled to take place on Monday (December 11).

Meanwhile, Soh said the handsome prize money will help elevate badminton’s status among sports fans worldwide.

“When we played at the last Olympics in Tokyo, badminton was a small sport compared to others. Hopefully, the prize money increase will help promote badminton,” he said.

Academy Badminton Malaysia coaching director Rexy Mainaky said the lucrative prize money shows that badminton offers a great future, especially for the younger generation.

This year, the singles champions will receive US$200,000 (RM934,000) each, while US$210,000 (RM980,700) awaits the doubles champions, followed by US$100,000 (RM467,000) each for all runners-up and US$50,000 (RM233,500) each for the semi-finalists.

— Bernama

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