By Mike Rowbottom

Wang Xiaoli__Yu_Yang_of_China_at_the_2011_Badminton_World_Superseries_Finals_in_LiuzhouOctober 14 - A total of 14 member associations of the Badminton World Federation (BWF) are vying to host events in the BWF World Superseries 2014-2017 tournament cycle, with China presenting two of a total 15 bids.

Badminton England have confirmed their determination to retain their Premier status in the OSIM BWF World Superseries after the world governing body announced the list of member nations competing for the 12 tournament places.

The Yonex All England Open Badminton Championships is the oldest Open tournament in world badminton, dating back more than 100 years, and is one of the five Premier events in the current cycle, along with the Denmark, Korean, Indonesian and China Opens.

But the big five will face competition from Malaysia, Singapore and newcomers Australia as the BWF evaluate the bids before announcing their decisions in Bangkok in November.

In total, 14 member nations and 15 tournaments are bidding for World Superseries status.

Chinese Taipei and Thailand are also newcomers bidding to join the Superseries circuit.

The new cycle will usher in a four-year series in which players stand to earn the sport's biggest jackpots ever as badminton steps up its profile in the international arena.

Thomas Laybourn_and_Kamilla_Rytter_Juhl_Oct_14Thomas Laybourn (right) and Kamilla Rytter Juhl of Denmark competing at the Yonex All England Open Badminton Championships in March this year

"The bidding for these 12 events has been extremely competitive and those countries and cities which are selected will have met some high criteria because we are looking to raise the bar in a number of ways," noted Thomas Lund, the BWF chief operating officer/secretary general.

"Badminton as a sporting and entertainment spectacle is improving each year and, as a result, is generating more interest and excitement worldwide.

"The fact that so many countries and cities now want to be part of BWF's elite circuit is testament to this fact.

"We are currently evaluating the bids against the criteria and we will announce the host cities at our next Council meeting in November.

"It is going to be tough to exclude any of these Member Associations but, at the end of the process, we are confident we will have chosen the very best cities in which to showcase badminton."

China, which stages two tournaments in the ongoing 2011-2013 cycle, is seeking to continue that trend with bids to hold events in Changzhou and Guangzhou, a proposed shift from Shanghai.

However, with the badminton showpiece set to remain at 12 tournaments, competition is tight to be part of the enhanced BWF World Superseries set-up, comprising seven World Superseries events and five top-tier World Superseries Premier events which boast greater prize money.

Jwala Gutta_and_Ashwini_Ponnappa_Oct_14
India's Jwala Gutta (right) and Ashwini Ponnappa in action at the Yonex-Sunrise India Open in  April this year.

Seven BWF members – Australia, China (Guangzhou bid), Denmark, England, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore – are competing for the prestige of showcasing a World Superseries Premier event.

The other member associations in the reckoning – China (Changzhou bid), Chinese Taipei, France, Hong Kong, India, Japan, South Korea and Thailand - have their sights set on the World Superseries level.

South Korea currently hosts the $1 million (£622,000/€772,000) Victor Korea Open which is part of the present OSIM BWF World Superseries.

Canada, Switzerland and the United States initially expressed an interest in contending for a host place on the tour, but each has since chosen not to proceed with bidding.

The five top-tier World Superseries Premier tournaments promise to be more lucrative campaigns for winners, each with minimum prize money of $500,000 (£311,000/€386,000) for 2014 and 2015; $550,000 (£342,000/€424,000) for 2016, and $600,000 (£373,000/€463,000) for 2017.

This is a significant boost from $350,000 (£218,000/€270,000) for 2011 and 2012 and $400,000 (£249,000/€309,000) for next season.

Meanwhile, World Superseries prize money will increase by $25,000 (£16,000/€19,000) annually, starting with a minimum $250,000 (£155,000/€193,000) in 2014 and rising as follows: $275,000 (£171,000/€212,000) for 2015; $300,000 (£187,000/€231,000) for 2016; and $325,000 (£202,000/€251,000) for 2017.

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