KUALA LUMPUR (5 MARCH 2013): The Axiata Cup, badminton’s richest team championship event which offers US$1million in prize money, will once again feature some of the world’s top-ranked players when the tournament begins in Surabaya and Kuala Lumpur this month.
Organised by Axiata Group, one of the largest telecommunication conglomerates in Asia, and in collaboration with Badminton Asia Confederation (BAC) and Total Sports Asia, the Axiata Cup was conceptualised in 2012 with the objective of broadening the sports’ fan base, attracting more playing enthusiasts thus simultaneously exposing new talent.
Some of the world’s top-ranked men players will represent All-Star Europe and All-Star Asia teams in their challenge against Southeast Asian badminton playing nations Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, bringing to eight the number of teams participating.
The Axiata Cup 2013 edition will also feature women players in the singles and mixed doubles events. With the inclusion of these two events, each tie in the Axiata Cup will now consist of four matches – Men Singles, Women Singles, Men doubles and Mixed Doubles.
Axiata Group Chief Executive Officer, Dato’ Sri Jamaludin Ibrahim, said: “Since its inception last year, the Axiata Cup has proven to be badminton’s most lucrative team competitive event. New records have been set, heightened excitement and this is only the second year.”
“We are confident we are able to take this to greater heights during future tournaments. The participation of female players in this year’s tournament gives the event an added excitement and glamour,” added Jamaluddin at the launch which was also attended by Indonesia’s Ricky Subagja, who captured the 1996 Atlanta Olympics men’s doubles gold medal together with Rexy Mainaky, and current singles ace Simon Santoso.
Indonesia’s Garuda emerged as the inaugural champions last year with a 5-1 victory over Rajawali in the final.
This year’s Axiata Cup event will also see changes to the format of how points are awarded. For example, should Team A defeat Team B by a 3-1 score, Team A will earn three points and Team B awarded one point for that tie.
The curtain raiser for this year’s Axiata Cup will be held in Surabaya, Indonesia (March 21-24) and the second round played simultaneously in Kuala Lumpur and Surabaya (March 29-31).
The top four teams with the highest number of points after the preliminary round will progress to the semi-finals where there will be a re-draw to determine the match-ups. Both the semi-finals and finals will be held in Kuala Lumpur over two days beginning April 13. The winning finalist will take home a whopping US$400,000.
Malaysia’s fast-rising singles player Liew Daren, ranked World No 12, will lead the home challenge together with the men’s doubles pair of Koo Kiean Keat-Tan Boon Hong, currently ranked World No 2. Daren’s confidence soared when he scored his maiden win over Datuk Lee Chong Wei in straight sets of 23-21, 21-14 at the Djarum Superliga championships in Surabaya, Indonesia recently as the Malaysian Tigers defeated PB Musica Champion 3-2 in the group stage.
Indonesia will be led by Sony Dwi Kuncoro, currently ranked World No 4, and Simon Santoso, while Boonsak Ponsana is expected to carry Thailand’s hopes.
Badminton Asia Confederation president, Katsuto Momii, said BAC is proud to be associated with the Axiata Cup which is a challenging platform for all the players in the Asian region.
“BAC would like to thank Axiata and Total Sports Asia for their vision and brave decision to take up this challenge by organising an event of this magnitude. The big prize money offered will certainly give the players an opportunity to improve their earning as a career in badminton,” added Momii.
Meanwhile, Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) president Dato’ Seri Nadzmi Mohd Salleh acknowledged that the Axiata Cup will provide the biggest challenge for some of the leading players in the world.
“BAM welcomes the Axiata Cup which is the highest prize money for team championships. It is a unique event which brings together some of the best in Southeast Asia and given the fact that we are able to include foreign players gives the event an added excitement,” said Nadzmi.
Besides the champions earning US$400,000, prize money for the remaining teams will be distributed with the runners up earning US$200,000, US$150,000 (Third placed team); US$100,000 (fourth placed); US$60,000 (fifth); US$40,000 (sixth); US$30,000 (seventh) and US$20,000 (eight).
Ticket prices vary from RM10 to RM30 depending on the round and seat category. Tickets are available at Air Asia RedTix website www.airasiaredtix.com or contact hotline number 03- 8775 4666.
Axiata is one of the largest Asian telecommunication companies, focused on high growth low penetration emerging markets. Axiata has controlling interests in mobile operators in Malaysia, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Cambodia with significant strategic stakes in India and Singapore. India and Indonesia are amongst the fastest growing markets in the world. In addition, the Malaysian-grown holding company has stakes in non-mobile telecommunication operations in Thailand.
The Group’s mobile subsidiaries and associates operate under the brand name ‘Celcom’ in Malaysia, ‘XL’ in Indonesia, ‘Dialog’ in Sri Lanka, ‘Robi’ in Bangladesh, ‘HELLO’ in Cambodia, ‘Idea’ in India and ‘M1’ in Singapore.
The Group, including its subsidiaries and associates, has over 187 million mobile subscribers in Asia. The Group revenue for 2010 was RM15.6 billion. The Group provides employment to over 25,000 people across Asia. Axiata’s vision is to be a regional champion by 2015 by piecing together the best throughout the region in connectivity, technology and talent, uniting them towards a single goal: Advancing Asia.
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