Syed Modi Badminton tournament gains popularity and recognition over the years

Top seed PV Sindhu (L) playing Tanya Hemanth in the first round of the Syed Modi International tournament in Lucknow
Top seed PV Sindhu (L) playing Tanya Hemanth in the first round of the Syed Modi International tournament in Lucknow

The Syed Modi International Badminton Championships is a much sought-after tournament for Indian shuttlers. Almost every top player from the nation competes in the over three-decade-old annual tournament.

The tournament was launched in 1991 by the Uttar Pradesh Badminton Association (UPBA) as the "Syed Modi Memorial Badminton Tournament" in memory of Commonwealth Games champion Syed Modi.

Since then, the event has taken place every year in honor of Modi, one of India's best badminton players of the eighties. During its first 14 years of existence, it remained a national-level tournament.

However, in 2004, the tournament was organized as an international event for the first time, which saw some low-key foreign participation.

Over the years, it continued to gain popularity and recognition as more and more foreign players began to participate. In 2009, it was turned into a BWF Grand Prix event.

Since then, the tournament has been held annually in Lucknow at the Babu Banarasi Das Indoor Stadium.

In 2011, the event was upgraded to a BWF Grand Prix Gold tournament, making it the second-most prestigious international tournament in the country after the Indian Open.

The Badminton World Federation (BWF) changed the names of some of the tournaments a few years ago, including the Syed Modi India International Championship. Grand Prix Gold became a BWF World Tour 300 tournament, while Super Series events like the Indian Open turned into a World Tour Super 500 event.

Biggest names in corporate sector sponsoring Syed Modi Badminton tournament

Some of India’s biggest names in the corporate sector, including the Adani Group, Dream 11, and Balrampur Chini Mills, have come on board as sponsors for the ongoing Syed Modi India International Championship.

The week-long tournament is being held at Babu Banarasi Das Badminton Academy in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, and will conclude on January 23.

Double Olympic medallist PV Sindhu is gunning for the elusive title alongside the likes of HS Prannoy, Sourabh Verma and Sameer Verma. Top international players such as Thailand's Supanida Katethong and Russia's Evgeniya Kosetskaya will also be participating.

In view of the rising number of cases, the tournament is being held amidst strict COVID-19 protocols. Players and officials are required to undertake RT-PCR and Rapid Antigen Tests daily to ensure a safe bio-bubble.

The organizers are trying their best, under the leadership of UPBA president Navneet Sehgal, to ensure that the tournament goes smoothly. He said:

“We are absolutely delighted to have esteemed organizations like the Adani Group, Dream 11, and Balrampur Chini Mills come on board as sponsors for a much esteemed international tournament. Sports have suffered immensely due to COVID-19 and thankfully, things are improving and players are getting an opportunity to play. We are ensuring a safe and protected environment for them to play in. Uttar Pradesh is growing as a hub of sports and now that the state has adopted badminton and wrestling there is a long way to go.”

One of the main sponsors, Dream11 is delighted to contribute to the success of the tournament. Kiran Vivekananda, Chief Policy Officer of Dream Sports and head of the Dream Sports Foundation said:

“Dream11 is honored to partner with Uttar Pradesh Badminton Association for the upcoming edition of the historic Syed Modi International Badminton tournament.”

After sponsoring several major sports tournaments, including the Indian Premier League (IPL), Dream11 promised to continue their association with UPBA and badminton.

Vivekananda added:

“As a sports engagement platform, it is our constant endeavor to support the growth & development of sports in the state and our support towards the Syed Modi International tournament is a significant move in that direction. We look forward to further collaborating and supporting the UP Govt and wish all the participants in the tournament the very best.”

With so many sponsors joining the Syed Modi tournament this season, badminton fans can look forward to a much better event.

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Edited by Sandeep Banerjee
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