Bigger purse to pursue

$miles of approval: (From left) Doubles shuttlers Soh Wooi Yik, Aaron Chia and Badminton Association of Malaysia national coaching director Rexy Mainaky answering questions at the World Tour Finals press conference. — SAMUEL ONG/The Star

It’s double the motivation for Aaron-Wooi Yik to rule World Tour Finals

PETALING JAYA: Men’s doubles shuttlers Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik believe the increased prize money up for grabs in the World Tour Finals from Dec 13-17 in Hangzhou is a positive step for badminton.

The Badminton World Federation (BWF) had increased the total prize purse for the prestigious season-ending tournament from US$2mil (RM9.4mil) to US$2.5mil (RM 11.7mil) this year.

The winners in the doubles events will take home a whopping US$210,000 (RM980,000) and this will be an additional motivation for Aaron-Wooi Yik to aim for glory.

“Increasing the prize money for the Finals is good for the popularity of the sport,” said Aaron in a pre-tournament press conference at the Academy Badminton Malaysia (ABM) in Bukit Kiara yesterday.

“Currently, badminton is still far behind other sports like tennis and football in terms of financial rewards for winners.

“The prize pool in the sport needs to be increased further to bridge this gap.

“Usually, when China hosts tournaments, we know that the prize money will be high.

“Personally, the money on offer in the Finals is an added motivation for me and Wooi Yik and we will take this as a challenge to win the title,” added Aaron.

Wooi Yik said: “I see this as a positive development for badminton.

“With more money, badminton can make its presence felt worldwide.

“Although badminton is in the Olympics, it is still relatively small compared to other sports.

“As a shuttler, it will surely motivate me further to step up my effort in promoting badminton and grow its stature.”

World No. 3 Aaron-Wooi Yik need to improve on their past showings in the Tour Finals if they are to become champions. The duo have never gone past the group stages before.

Aaron though remains unfazed and does not think his past record with Wooi Yik harms the pair’s chances of winning the title.

“Our past record in this tournament is not good but this reduces the pressure on us,” said Aaron.

“All the pairs that have qualified this time have an equal chance of winning the title.

“All are quite strong and the most consistent pair throughout the tournament will be the champions.”

The other seven pairs who will be vying for the title are China’s Liang Weikeng-Wang Chang, Liu Yuchen-Ou Xuanyi; Indonesia’s Fajar Alfian-Rian Ardianto, Shohibul Fikri-Bagas Maulana; Japan’s Takuro Hoki-Yugo Kobayashi; South Korea’s reigning world champions Kang Min-hyuk-Seo Seung-jae; and Denmark’s Kim Astrup-Anders Skaarup Rasmussen.

The draw for the competition will be released on Dec 11.

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