New Delhi: Badminton in the country received a massive fillip on Saturday with Indian Open granted a Super Series status for a three-year period starting next year.
So far a Grand Prix event, the tournament staved off the challenge from Swiss Open to bag the honour, riding on the support it got from non-European countries in the World Badminton Federation (WBF) Executive Council meeting in Kuala Lumpur.
"We won the vote against the Swiss Open 10-7 with all non-European nations supporting our bid," Badminton India President VK Verma said in a statement.
It`s elevation means Indian Open will be a USD 500,000 0event featuring world`s top 32 players in men`s and women`s singles and doubles.
Capital`s state-of-the-art Siri Fort Stadium will host the event immediately after the All-England Championship each year with Hyderabad and Mumbai named stand-by venues.
The news came as music to the ears of the badminton fraternity and Prakash Padukone, who won the All-England crown in 1980 and the World Cup in 1981, hoped it would help the sport draw more youngsters.
"A lot of young players will get an opportunity to watch the top players of the world in action and improve their own game," he said.
"More youngsters will also take up the game if events of this stature are held regularly and publicised extensively in the media," he said.
National coach P Gopichand, who won the All-England title in 2001, also felt hosting a Super Series event would broaden the game`s base.
"It is a great moment for us. I am happy that we are at a stage today to host such a prestigious event as a Super Series tournament. India has been put on the world badminton map well and truly and this will be a boon for the badminton fraternity in India," he said.