The Bahrain International Series Badminton Tournament 2022, hosted jointly by the Indian Club and the Bahrain Badminton and Squash Federation (BBSF), will present fans of the sport in the kingdom the rare chance to see some of the world’s top players in action when it starts today.
The five-day tournament initially attracted entries from 196 players across 26 countries, but the organisers said at a Press conference yesterday that many of them had to drop out for various reasons, including injuries and Covid-19.
The Indian Club president, K M Cherian was upbeat as he addressed reporters in a hall on the club’s premises while several players practised on the world-class courts below.
“The Indian Club is really proud and privileged to host, and excited about conducting this international series,” Cherian said about the tournament, which has been held annually since 2014. “This event will go a long way towards growing the sport even more across the Gulf.”
A total of 168 players had arrived from around the world to participate in the largest international badminton tournament to be ever held in Bahrain, the club’s general secretary Sateesh Gopinathan Nair added.
“Many fans have also flown in to witness their favourite players in action,” he said.
Meanwhile, India had fielded the largest contingent – 55 players – with Chinese Taipei being represented by 25, while 20 Indonesian athletes were participating in the tournament, the club’s badminton secretary CM Junith said.
“Eight Bahraini players are competing while Australia, Azerbaijan, England, Finland, Germany, Italy, Saudi Arabia, Maldives, Malaysia, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Ukraine and several other countries are also being represented in the championship,” he added.
The tournament will feature all major categories: men’s singles, women’s singles, men’s doubles, women’s doubles and mixed doubles. Matches will start at 9.30am every day on the two courts and continue through to a 9pm finish. The final will be played on November 27.
Expectations for this year’s tournament are high after the hugely successful 2021 edition, with several players, ranked amongst the top 100 in various categories, likely to draw even larger crowds this time.
Nair said holding a tournament of this scale would not have been possible without the support of the BBSF.
“On behalf of the badminton section and its members, the executive committee of the Indian Club would like to thank the BBSF and all our sponsors for their gracious and vital support,” he added.