The Sudirman Cup is a popular mixed-team badminton tournament that is held every two years. It was held in the same venue where the IBF World Championships were held until the International Badminton Federation decided to split the two tournaments starting from 2003. There are five matches in every Sudirman Cup tie that include men and women’s singles, men and women’s doubles, and mixed doubles. The cup is named after Dick Sudirman, a former Indonesian badminton player and the founder of the Badminton Association of Indonesia. The first Sudirman Cup badminton tournament took place in Istora Senayan, Jakarta, Indonesia in May 1989. There is no prize money for the players in the tournament, and they play for their respective countries to earn Badminton World Federation (BWF) world ranking points.
The Sudirman Cup is a unique international badminton competition without a qualification round. The competing teams are divided into seven groups based on their performances and only teams in Group 1 have a chance to win the trophy and the team in other groups fights for promotion. The tournament started with only six teams competing until 2003 and they were increased to eight in 2005, and later to twelve in the year 2011.
This year the Sudirman Cup badminton mixed team championship will be held from September 26 to October 3 at Vantaa in Finland, and China, the 11-time champions have been given top billing followed by the four-time champions South Korea and Indonesia. England and India along with Russia and Egypt have been placed in the 9 to 16 bracket. India’s national coach P Gopichand and Badminton Association of India general secretary Ajay Kumar Singhania are excited about the Indian shuttlers participating in the Sudirman Cup and the players are happy to be back in action in the international badminton championship this year.
Originally during the starting year of the Sudirman Cup in 1989, the teams that finished last in the group were relegated to the lower group for the next edition, except the final group. The promotion-relegation system was last used in 2009 and the competing teams are now grouped by world rankings.
Gopichand made a press announcement about India’s participation in the Sudirman Cup last week. He said there are strong players in all categories and hopefully the Indian badminton team will do well. Meanwhile, selection trials are scheduled to be held in Hyderabad and other modalities will be decided after the trials, said Singhania.
The Indian team has reached the quarterfinals of the Sudirman Cup once before losing to the champions China in 2011. Indian shuttlers made their debut in the tournament in 2009, 20 years after the tournament began in 1989.
1. China 2. Japan 3. Indonesia 4. Chinese Taipei .5/8 South Korea, Thailand Denmark, Malaysia, 9/16 India, England, Canada, Germany, Russia France, Australia and Egypt.