PETALING JAYA: The Celcom Axiata Malaysian Open’s lucrative prize purse of US$750,000 (RM3.27mil) remains unaffected despite the uncertainties caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The country’s premier badminton tournament is set for a return on Nov 24-29 at the Axiata Arena in Bukit Jalil after being postponed from its initial dates of March 31-April 5.
The event organisers have to top up another US$50,000 (RM219,000) to last year’s US$700,000 (RM3.05mil) as it has been agreed that the prize money of all World Tour events will be increased for the last two years of the 2018-2021 cycle.
The Malaysian Open, as one of the five Tier 3-rated tournaments along with Denmark, French, Fuzhou China and Japan Opens, must offer a minimum prize money of US$750,000.
Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) Datuk Kenny Goh said the organisers have no problem committing to the minimum prize money requirement set by the Badminton World Federation (BWF).
“When BAM first bid to host the tournament in the newly-structured World Tour, we knew this was the amount we would have to commit, ” said Kenny.
“Of course, no one saw the Covid-19 coming. Like everyone else, we definitely still have to honour our commitments if the tournament is to proceed.
“The prize money for the Malaysian Open is not an issue. Our sponsors are still standing firm behind us.
However, Kenny was quick to admit that the organisers were set to lose a “substantial” amount of revenue if the tournament is played behind closed doors.
“The ticket sales provide a certain percentage of income when we run a tournament of such scale, ” he said. “So if we are to play with limited or no crowd at all, it’s going to hit us hard financially.”
Meanwhile, Kenny said the status of the other international tournaments hosted in Malaysia will be known by the second week of June.
Besides the Malaysian Open, the other three tournaments are the suspended Malaysian International Series (June 16-21) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysian International Junior Open (Aug 12-16) in Putrajaya and the Malaysian International Challenge (Nov 3-8) in Ipoh.
“The Malaysian International Series will most likely be cancelled. There’s no date to fit it in, ” said Kenny.
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