Axiata Cup beckons world's leading players
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 companies 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: “At US$1million in prize money the Axiata Cup is still badminton's richest team competitive event.”
“We are confident we are able to push this further during future tournaments. With the new format of play and the participation of female players in this year's tournament the event has been given an added excitement," added Dato' Sri Jamaludin 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.
This year's Axiata Cup event will also see changes to the format moving from home and away. The preliminary round matches will be played in a round robin format in Surabaya, Indonesia (March 21–24) and the return leg in Kuala Lumpur (March 29–31). Teams that garner the highest number of points advance to the semifinals stage. Both the semifinals and finals will be held in Kuala Lumpur on April 13-14.
The winning finalist will take home a whopping US$400,000.
The championship will include some of the world's top players which includes Malaysia's fast-rising singles player Liew Daren, who will lead the home challenge together with the men's doubles pair of Koo Kiean Keat-Tan Boon Hong. 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's Garuda emerged as the inaugural champions last year with a 5-1 victory over Rajawali in the final. This year Indonesia will be led by Sony Dwi Kuncoro 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. Axiata has controlling interests in mobile operators in Malaysia, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Cambodia with significant strategic stakes in India and Singapore. India represents one of the fastest growing markets in the world. In addition, the Malaysian-grown holding company has a stake in 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's, including its subsidiaries and associates, has over 215 million mobile subscribers in Asia. The Group revenue for 2012 was USD5.7 billion. The Group provides employment to over 20,000 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.
Axiata was awarded the Frost & Sullivan 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 Asia Pacific ICT Award for Best Telecom Group and the Telecom Asia Best Regional Mobile Group 2010 and 2011 for its operations in multiple Asian markets.
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