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Most important badminton tournaments in the world

The 9 Most Important Badminton Tournaments in the World

Like every sport, in badminton, tournaments are organized to evaluate the performance of players and teams. It is like examinations, the assessment of which determines the ranking of every individual. This contest to acquire the higher position is actually professional badminton, for which every player prepares himself throughout the year. Numerous international badminton tournaments are organized in different parts of the world every year under the guidance of BWF (Badminton World Federation). But the weightage in terms of points, prestige, viewers, and prize money, of all competitions, is not equal. Top players reserve their energy for the Grade-1 tournaments whereas the budding players aim for less competitive lower ranked events to earn valuable ranking points. The 9 most important and prestigious badminton tournaments (in descending order) are:

  1. Summer Olympics
  2. World Championships
  3. All England Badminton Championships
  4. Thomas Cup
  5.  Uber Cup
  6. Sudirman Cup
  7. World Junior Championships
  8. World Senior Championships
  9. BWF World Tour Finals

9 Most Important Badminton Tournaments

EventFrequencyMaximum Title
OlympicEvery 4 yearsChina (47)
World ChampionshipsAnnualChina (69)
All EnglandAnnualEngland (194)
Thomas CupEvery Two YearsIndonesia (Winner-14, Runner-up-7)
Uber CupEvery Two YearsChina (Winner-15, Runner-up-4)
Sudirman CupEvery two YearsChina (Winner-12, Runner-up-2)
World Junior ChampionshipsAnnualChina (181)
World Senior ChampionshipsEvery Two YearsEngland (262)
World Tour FinalsAnnualChina (9)

1. Summer Olympics

Badminton in the olympics 2008 tournament
Photo: Tom Thai/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY 2.0

Since badminton was introduced as an official event in the 1992 Barcelona Olympic games, this event became the most prestigious badminton tournament in the world. Players don’t have too many chances to get the winner’s medal, because the Olympics is scheduled to be held at an interval of 4 years. This most-watched event is organized into 5 categories, Singles, Doubles (Men and Women), and Mixed Doubles. Participation in the Olympics is based on the BWF rankings where a maximum of 29 competitors for singles and 19 pairs for doubles are considered.

In the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, 172 players from 49 nations participated. China topped the medal tally with 6 medals (Gold- 2, Silver- 4), while Chinese Taipei came second with 2 medals (Gold- 1, Silver- 1) and Indonesia secured 3rd place with 1 Gold and 1 Bronze. Victor Axelsen of Denmark won the men’s singles title and Chen Yufei of China won the women’s singles title. The next 2024 Olympics will be held in Paris, France from 26 July to 11th August 2024.

2. World Championships

BWF World Championships was first held in 1977 with an interval of 3 years, but from 2006, this event becomes annual except for the year the Olympics. This prestigious tournament shares the most ranking points along with the Olympics. Like the Olympics, the World Championships is also played for five categories, i.e. singles, doubles (men & women), and mixed doubles.

China is the most dominant with 69 gold medals while Indonesia stands 2nd with 23 gold medals. Lin Dan of China has bagged the highest of 5 golds while in the women’s category, it is Carolina Marin of Spain with 3 gold medals.

3. All England Badminton Championships

The All England Championships is the oldest badminton tournament that was first conducted in 1898. This is a highly reputed badminton tournament that has been awarded the Super Series Premier status with 12000 valuable ranking points for the winner. This is an annual individual championship for singles, doubles, and mixed doubles categories for both men and women. Two Indian Legends, Prakash Padukone, and Pullela Gopichand became All England Champions in the year 1980 and 2001 respectively.

4. Thomas Cup

Thomas Cup is the biggest men’s team event in badminton. As per fan following and importance, this tournament is truly called the World Men’s Team Championships. Thomas cup, introduced in 1949, is organized every two years since 1982. 12 nations including the host nation and the current champion participate in the final battle. Indonesia is the most successful to lift this cup 14 times, following China 10 times, and Malaysia 5 times. India showed a splendid performance by beating mighty Indonesia 3-0 in the final in Bangkok, Thailand, and has been crowned as the champion of 2022.

5. Uber Cup

Uber Cup, played concurrently with the Thomas cup at the same venue and at the same time, is also known as the World Women’s Team Championships. This highly-rated tournament, introduced in 1957 follows the same format as the Thomas cup. China is the front leader with 15 titles while Japan has lifted this glamorous trophy 6 times. South Korea became the champion in 2022 by beating China 3-2.

6. Sudirman Cup

Sudirman Cup, the mixed team championships, was first played in 1989 in Indonesia, the nation that won the maiden trophy. Like the Olympics, this important tournament was conducted in 5 categories, singles, doubles for both men and women, and mixed doubles. Like Thomas and Uber, the Sudirman cup is also organized every two years with 12 participating nations. China is the current champion with a total of 12 titles while South Korea is in the 2nd position with 4 titles.

7. World Junior Championship

BWF World Junior Championships is the most desired crown for junior players under the age of 19 years with the highest junior ranking points. This annual tournament was started in 1992 for individuals (singles, doubles, and mixed doubles). Later in 2000, there was an addition of the mixed team championships followed by the individual championships. The 2024 World Junior Championships will be held in Auckland, New Zealand.

8. World Senior Championships

The World Senior Championships is a major badminton tournament for men’s and women’s singles and doubles and also mixed doubles under the age category of 35+, 40+, 45+, 50+, 55+, 60+, 65+, 70+, and 75+. The event was inaugurated in 2003 and since then it is organized every two years. The next World Senior Championships will be held in Jeonju, Korea from 11 – 17 September 2023.

9. BWF World Tour Finals

The BWF World Tour is a series of important grade-2 tournaments in badminton offering valuable ranking points and prize money. The tour tournaments in a calendar year are segmented into four levels, i.e. Super 1000 (4 tournaments), Super 750 (6 tournaments), Super 500 (9 tournaments), and Super 300 (11 tournaments).  Higher the super series, the more ranking points, and prize money. 

The BWF World Tour Finals is a badminton event conducted in the month of December of each calendar year. The top 8 badminton players/ pairs (maximum 2 from each member nation) with maximum raking points collected from the World Tour events are eligible to participate in this renowned tournament. Viktor Axelsen (Denmark) and Akane Yamaguchi (Japan) are the singles champions in men’s and women’s categories in the World Tour Finals, Bangkok, 2022.

Ranking Points and Prize Money of the Most Important Badminton Tournaments in 2023

TournamentRanking Points (Winner)Prize Money(Winner)
Olympics13000
World Championships13000
World Tour Finals12000$2,000,000
All England12000$1,250,000
Super 100012000$1,250,000
Super 75011000$850,000
Super 5009200$420,000
Super 3007000$210,000

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Are BWF World Championships and World Tour Finals the same?

No, they are not the same. The eligibility for the world championships is the cumulative ranking points whereas the Tour Finals are based on the total points collected from the tour events in a specific calendar year.

2. Which tournament has the highest ranking points?

Olympics and the BWF World Championships award 13000 ranking points for the winner (maximum for any tournament) but there is no system of prize money.

3. Which tournament awards the maximum prize money?

The prize money of World Tour Finals, 2023 is $2,000,000 which is the maximum of any BWF-sanctioned tournament.

4. Who is the record holder of the BWF World Championship title?

China’s Zhao Yunlei holds the record with 10 medals (Golds-5, Silver-2, Bronze-3). In the men’s category, Lin Dan (China) and Park Joo Bong (Korea) are the record holders with 5 gold medals each.

5. When and where the next world championships will be held?

The 2023 World Championships will be held in Copenhagen, Denmark from 21 – 27 August 2023.

Related Topic: “The 5 Most Important Badminton Tournaments In India

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