Kuala Lumpur – Malaysia, Sept 16, 2012: Clamour, Entries for the prestigious Suhandinata Cup – the pinnacle of junior team badminton – have jumped from last year’s 22 nations to nearly match the record total of 2006.
Following the launch of Badminton World Federation’s (BWF) World Junior Team Participation Grant last May, the Yonex BWF World Junior Championships has seen bumper entries for the mixed-team tournament, scheduled for Chiba, Japan, from 25 October to 3 November this year.
Donated by the legendary Indonesian badminton family, the Suhandinata Cup will be contested by 31 teams – nine more than last year and just one short of the most-ever 32 teams which vied for the coveted trophy six years ago. First-time entrants include Algeria, Belgium and Uzbekistan while the event welcomes back many countries which have not competed for several years such as Bulgaria, Canada, Ireland and the Czech Republic. They will all be aiming to beat reigning champions, Malaysia.
In May this year, the BWF Council announced its support for the development of the World Junior Championships with a US$100,000 Participation Grant, recognising the tournament’s importance as a major landmark in the careers of aspiring elite players. This allowed teams who matched some basic criteria, such as either not competing or finishing outside the top 15 of the 2011 and/or 2010 World Junior Championships, to apply for individual team grants of up to US$6,500 each.
Ten teams took advantage of this initiative and will now be able to give their talented youngsters a rich and crucial experience in international badminton as they seek to develop their sporting careers.
The Participation Grant also includes funds to enhance that experience with the implementation of a Cultural and Education Programme at the championships, delivered in conjunction with hosts Nippon Badminton Association. The programme includes training sessions with top Japanese players, coaching clinics and talks and insights on the life of top-level professional badminton players.
The BWF World Junior Championships also provides the highest level of points for a junior ranking tournament within the newly-instituted BWF World Junior Rankings. —- BWF