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Why HS Prannoy failed to qualify for BWF World Tour Finals 2023?

Published at :December 7, 2023 at 3:47 AM
Modified at :December 30, 2023 at 7:09 PM
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(Courtesy : @narendramodi/Twitter)

Ankhi Dutta

He was the sole shuttler to represent India in the last edition.

The Badminton World Federation (BWF) recently unveiled the eight qualified players or pairs for each of the five disciplines participating in the prestigious BWF World Tour Finals. This tournament holds the distinction of being the most lucrative event in badminton, boasting a total prize pool of $2.5 million, highest prize amount for any badminton tournament.

To secure a spot, players accumulate points from 14 tournaments across the 52 weeks, with the BWF considering only the top 10 performances during the stipulated time frame. Those with the highest points earned throughout the year’s BWF World Tour events get the chance to compete in this highly anticipated season-ending championship.

For the first time in 13 years, the prestigious BWF World Tour Finals will not feature any Indian representation. The last absence from this tournament for India dates back to 2010, during the BWF Superseries Finals era, which later transitioned into the BWF World Tour Finals in 2018. Over the years, stalwarts like Saina Nehwal, PV Sindhu, Kidambi Srikanth, and HS Prannoy have proudly represented India in this esteemed championship.

During the previous edition of the World Tour Finals, HS Prannoy stood as the sole Indian contender, making a significant impact by halting the victorious streak of eventual champion and world number 1 Viktor Axelsen in a thrilling group stage match. This standout performance showcased Prannoy’s prowess on the court, making a memorable mark amidst the top-tier competition at the tournament.

Despite attaining a career high rank of world no. 6, the current world no. 8 failed to make the cut for the BWF World Tour Finals 2023. Prannoy broke India’s 41-year medal drought in men’s singles individual event at the Asiad by becoming the only second Indian to medal in the Games, behind Syed Modi. Moreover, he became the first Indian to consecutively reach three BWF World Championships quarterfinals in men’s singles.

He didn’t stop there, rather went on to upset the reigning world and olympic champion, Viktor Axelsen, in his own backyard in the quarterfinals and continued the India’s medals streak at the championships since 2011 by winning bronze.

In the BWF World Tour level, HS Prannoy won his first BWF title at Malaysia Masters. He finished runners-up finish at Australia Open Super 500 tournament and reached the semifinals of Indonesia Open Super 1000. Furthermore, he reached the quarterfinals of Malaysia Open, Japan Open and China Masters. Overall, he had a remarkable season accumulating 71,020 points. Yet, he didn’t make the cut.

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Reasons for not qualifying for BWF World Tour Finals 2023?

The reason is, he is ranked 12th in the Race to BWF World Tour Finals, a separate ranking system that the world body operates parallelly to world rankings. Anders Antonsen was the last shuttler to make the cut in men’s singles with 78,110 points at the seventh place. Although Kunlavut Vitidsarn finished ninth, he gained direct entry for the championships as world champion.

It is to be considered that his bronze medal at Hangzhou Asian Games is not counted in the tally. But the points from here are added to the world rankings.

Also Prannoy’s season was filled up with injuries as well. He won the bronze medal at the Asian Games with a back injury. Prannoy managed to win the medal but later had to pull out from two consecutive two Super 750 tournaments (Denmark Open and French Open). Alongside this, he quit the month-long European leg of BWF World Tour post the Asian Games. Had Prannoy participated in this leg then he would have had high chances to qualify.

Probably, if the injuries didn’t hit him, he would have made the cut into the top eight. The rest of the points he accumulated from the BWF World Tour 2023 tournaments weren’t enough for him to make the cut, and hence, he missed the season ending tournament.

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