Posted on 9th December 2023
Shared article from BWF Website
When Hangzhou was announced as the host city of the HSBC BWF World Tour Finals (2023-2026), it became part of a journey that can be traced back to Glasgow 69 years ago.
In 1954 the 3,000-seater Kelvin Hall in Glasgow played host to the World Invitation Tournament organised by the Scottish Badminton Union. Held during non-Thomas Cup years, the event prided itself on showcasing the best badminton talent of the day, selected by invitation. The World Invitation, driven by David Bloomer and later, Craig Reedie, ran until 1974 in Glasgow, and while the event itself might bear little similarity with the World Tour Finals of today, it was a trendsetter.
A couple of other World Invitation tournaments were held in Asia (Jakarta, 1974 and Kuala Lumpur, 1975), but with the circuit getting more crowded, it got increasingly difficult to host top-level invitation events.
The immediate precursor to the current format of the season finale was the World Grand Prix Finals, which invited the top eight players/pairs on the year-end world rankings. Starting in 1983, it went on until 2000.
With the launch of the BWF Super Series (later, Superseries) in 2007, the season finale, called the BWF World Superseries Finals, hosted the top eight players/pairs who had accumulated the highest points from the 12 Superseries events through the calendar year.
One of the milestones achieved at the BWF Superseries Finals in 2013 was the introduction of the Instant Review System, which has now become an inseparable part of the sport.
A major step up was the hosting of the Finals in Dubai (2014 to 2017), bringing the best badminton players to a city where badminton was in an early developmental stage. The 2014 edition saw a bumping up of the prize money to US$1 million. The staging of the event was to have long-lasting benefits for the entire region.
Highlights of the BWF World Superseries Finals (2008-2017)
The highest singles winner is Lee Chong Wei with four titles (2008, 2009, 2010, 2013)
Part 2 to Follow: A New Era with the HSBC BWF World Tour Finals