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Hong Kong Open organisers confident of being able to stump up the cash to remain an elite event on world badminton circuit

Hong Kong badminton is confident of meeting new requirements to increase tournament prize money to US$700,000 to keep the annual extravaganza at the Coliseum in Hung Hom, one of the world’s top class events.

The Hong Kong Badminton Association is currently offering US$400,000 winning purse for the week-long tournament attracting over 6,000 fans to the finals on a Sunday afternoon.

But this will no longer be enough upon the completion of the current four-year agreement with the World Badminton Federation in 2017 as the governing body plans to launch a new world tour series to increase the prize money significantly as a bigger incentive to the players.

“In future there will be three tiers on the top level – with the grand finals the highest, followed by the World Tour 1 and 2 offering US$1 million and US$700,000 prize money respectively,” said HKBA chairman Tong Wai-lun.

“They plan to start with a total 12-14 stops for tour 1 and 2 initially which is similar to the number of the current superseries but we need to bid the tournament with a much bigger prize money.

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“It’s not going to be easy for the organisers as the increase is quite significant but since the Hong Kong Open has achieved great success over the years fulfilling all the stringent requirements laid down by the world governing body, we are keen to maintain a world class tournament.”

Tong said they would approach commercial sponsors to offset the additional cost and would be confident of meeting the new criteria when the world governing body meets in March to finalise the new world tour.

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The chief said the tournament would not only provide the fans with exciting badminton but also the opportunity for Hong Kong players to get home crowd support which always instilled additional morale and boosted performances.

Last year, home favourite Angus Ng Ka-long stunned two-time Olympic champion Lin Dan of China in the men’s singles while on Tuesday night, Tang Chun-man and Tse Ying-suet sent home world number one pair Ko Sung-hyun and Kim Ha-na of South Korea in the mixed doubles.