Shuttlecock stars gear up for challenge.
Badminton lovers in Bahrain have a feast in store as more than 70 top players from 15 countries have registered so far for a major ranking tournament that is being hosted by the Indian Club at its premises in Manama.
The event, with $15,000 prize money at stake in five categories, received a major boost with Bahrain Air, a private low-cost carrier based in the kingdom, signing up as the mega sponsor of the international tournament, which is being held under the auspices of Bahrain Badminton and Squash Federation (BBSF).
The signing ceremony of the 'Level4A' event, which will be known as Bahrain Air Bahrain International Challenge Badminton Tournament 2008, was held at the Bahrain Air headquarters in Arad and was attended by Bahrain Air managing director Ibrahim Al Hamer, commercial operations director Mohammed S Fakhri and Indian Club organising committee members.
After sealing the agreement, Al Hamer said: "Bahrain Air is delighted to associate itself with a sports event of such magnitude."
Commercial operations director Fakhri added: "It is our desire to be continually associated with such events locally and internationally."
This is the second time that the Indian Club is hosting a major badminton tournament following the success of the Bahrain Satellite Badminton Tournament - a 'Level 4' event - held at the new club courts in February last year. Tournament director K M Cherian said: "Following the good turnout we had at the satellite tournament last year, we decided to go a step further and approached our federation in a bid to host a bigger tournament this year. The BBSF then approached the Badminton Asia Confederation (BAC) and the Badminton World Federation (BWF) which gave their go-ahead for this Level 4A event.
"We are confident that this year's tournament will also be a success and the organising committee members as well as the Indian Club's badminton section, in co-ordination with the BBSF, will put their best foot forward to ensure that the event will be run smoothly," Cherian added.
Indian Club badminton secretary N K Raghavan said: "This Level 4A tournament carries world ranking points and we expect the number of entries to touch 100 in the five categories - men's singles and doubles, women's singles and doubles and mixed doubles. Entries to the event, fixtures and breakdown of prize money is all governed and controlled by BWF and BAC."
Bahrain's national team members and siblings Jaffer and Hamed Ibrahim and 10 other players - six men and four women - to be decided by the BBSF are likely to battle it out with more than 80 other players for ranking points which will enable them to take part in other international events such as the World Championships, Olympics and Asian Games. Among other countries sending players to take part in the event are India, Syria, Jordan, Indonesia, England, Bulgaria, Austria, Iran, Germany, Canada, Nigeria, Portugal and Slovakia.
The tournament referee will be Ahmad Pahlavan of Iran and his deputy will be countrywoman Zahra Rahmaty. Around 20 other officials and umpires are expected to turn up for the event.
The co-sponsors of the event are Devika International Trading, Al Hamad Construction, IPS Trade Middle East, Eastern Readymix, ITL Tourism & Travel, Bader Trading & Contracting, Ahmedi Industries, Nonoo Exchange Company, Shifa Al Jazira Medicals and Etisalcom (More Calling Cards).
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