The Malaysia Open, which is set to take place at the Axiata Arena from January 10-15, is touted to be an all-encompassing sporting event.
Elevated from a Super 750 to Super 1000 until the 2026 season, this year’s spectacle promises to deliver the ideal curtain raiser for the 2023 season, according to the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM).
“Firstly, the prestige of the event has been elevated. This Super 1000 event only involves four host countries. It also means all the top shuttlers are compulsory to play, so they will all be here.
“An event of this stature will also benefit the country in the long run, with more companies or individuals interested to be part of this. For that to happen, we have to create the excitement.
“We already have a huge fan base here in Malaysia, so it’s not difficult to widen that. Last year’s event was a success, and we want to repeat that,” BAM secretary-general Kenny Goh told Stadium Astro.
The Malaysia Open joins the All-England, Indonesia Open and China Open as the premier Super 1000 events on the BWF World Tour.
As such, the $1.25 million (RM5.5 million) prize money on offer is also close to double last year’s offerings of $675,000 (RM2.96 million).
“This event is about the players, so prize incentive is also good for them,” added Goh.
Last year’s Malaysia Open had a total attendance of close to 50,000 fans throughout the week-long affair, with a food festival and performances outside the Axiata Arena adding to the tournament's excitement and appeal.
As mentioned by Goh, all the top shuttlers, from Viktor Axelsen to Akane Yamaguchi, would be present and eager to rack up their first points of the season.
The Malaysian interest is also undoubtedly high, with fans expecting to see the likes of Lee Zii Jia, Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik and Pearly Tan-M. Thinaah in the final.
There is also a swansong for mixed doubles pair Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying, who will play together for the final time.