The 2014 Axiata Cup returns with the promise of another exhilarating episode when the top Asian and European players assemble in Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur for the top purse this November. Organised by Axiata Group, one of Asia’s largest telecommunications companies, and in collaboration with Badminton Asia Confederation (BAC) and Total Sports Asia (TSA), the Axiata Cup remains badminton’s richest team event in the world with a total prize money of USD1 million (RM3.3 million) on offer in this third edition.
Eight teams will play each other over seven consecutive days during the preliminary round stage at the Britama Arena Sports Mall, Kelapa Gading in Jakarta from November 27-December 3 followed by the semi-finals and finals on December 6-7 at the Kuala Lumpur Badminton Stadium (KLBA) in Cheras. The format of play for the Axiata Cup remains the same as last year where each tie in the Axiata Cup consists of four matches - men and women singles, men’s doubles and mixed doubles.
The top four teams with the most points after the League round qualify for the Play-off’s which will be held in Kuala Lumpur. The top seeded team will play the fourth-placed team and the second-placed team will play the third ranked team after the preliminaries.
All-Star Europe, who finished fifth last year earning USD60,000, will once again join the fray alongside All–Star Asia in the championships. Joining them will be marquee players from Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore and the Philippines.
Last year Malaysia, led by World No. 1 Datuk Lee Chong Wei, clawed back from a game down in this mixed team event to beat Thailand 3-1 in the 2013 Axiata Cup Final at the KLBA Stadium.
Besides the champions earning USD400,000, prize money for the remaining teams will be distributed with the runners-up picking USD200,000, third-placed USD150,000; fourth USD100,000; fifth USD60,000; sixth USD40,000; seventh USD30,000 and USD20,000 for finishing in eighth spot.
Axiata Group Chief Executive Officer, Dato’ Sri Jamaludin Ibrahim, said since its inception in 2012, the Axiata Cup has been badminton’s most lucrative team competitive event with the objective of broadening the sports' fan base and exposing new talent.
“For the third year in a row, the Axiata Cup is still the world’s richest team prize purse for badminton team championship, USD1 million. It has also hosted some of badminton’s biggest names since its inception in 2012. This year the thrills and spills will continue as a stellar eight-team line-up is in store for all the badminton fans out there,” said Dato’ Sri Jamaludin in his opening remark at the launch in Kuala Lumpur.
“Having already placed ourselves in the record books with just two years to show under our sleeves, we, together with our partners, subsidiaries and associates throughout the region are keen on breaking more records,” added Dato’ Sri Jamaludin.
This year, Axiata has cast a wider net by announcing the inaugural edition of the Axiata Cup Juniors which is channelled to develop a new breed of junior players.
“We at Axiata hope that this initiative will provide Malaysia a bigger pool of players to develop from. Exposing young players at an early stage is vital and competing in the Axiata Cup Juniors is about playing and feeling the excitement of a true professional badminton player,” he stressed.
The preliminary round of the Axiata Cup Juniors begins on October 31 and will witness an estimated 1,200 players between 13-16 years of age competing in the tournament.
Badminton Asia Confederation (BAC) president, Tan Sri Dr. Mohd Nadzmi Mohd Salleh, acknowledged that Axiata Group with the support from BAC and Total Sports Asia has taken the sport of badminton onto a whole new dimension, creating a new event for the players and spreading the news and action of the competition in a more global and innovative branding, using the most sophisticated ways, ideas and digital media platforms.
“The Axiata Cup has truly become an important stop on the badminton tour calendar in the ASEAN region and will provide the biggest challenge for some of the leading players in the world while fans can enjoy a whole new experience as well,” said Tan Sri Mohd Nadzmi.
“Being an award winning event, the Axiata Cup will once again be an exciting display of action by the players, for the fans and the media. We hope that everyone can support this event by joining the excitements and real-life actions at the stadiums in Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur, watching it live on the television or on other digital platforms,” Tan Sri Mohd Nadzmi added.
The BAC, he stressed, is committed to creating new opportunities for member associations and with the support from forward-thinking companies such as Axiata Group Berhad, there will be a long and continuous growth and success in the Asian badminton community.
The Axiata Cup 2012 was named the No.1 event in the Event Marketing Category of the 7th International Sports Event Management in 2012 and in 2013 Axiata Cup won the bronze medal in the Best Use of Technology category in ISEM 2013 Awards.