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The Syed Modi India International 2023 Tournament is set to happen from November 28, 2023, to December 3, 2023, in Lucknow, India.
The Legacy of Syed Modi
One of the best badminton players in India, Syed Modi was born as Syed Mehdi Hassan Zaidi in 1962 and is considered to be an iconic figure in the game of badminton.
The eight consecutive-time National Championship title winner from 1980 to 1987 rose to tremendous fame after he won the Men’s Singles Title in the 1982 Brisbane Commonwealth Games. Following the Gold Medal win, Syed won the bronze medal in the Men’s Singles category at the 1982 Asian Games held in New Delhi.
Tales from the historical times say that his then-rival Vimal Kumar couldn’t even fancy winning the National Championship title as he always failed to defeat Modi. Despite his turbulent life trajectory and untimely demise, Modi managed to make space in the hearts of the people.
Syed could have won many more titles if the shuttler was not shot dead in a conspiracy that involved his wife Ameeta and her alleged lover Sanjay Sinh.
His contribution to Indian Badminton
Modi was known for his high intelligence quotient and spectacular backhand techniques and was undefeatable during his time in the country. The 14-year-old junior champion was often compared to Suresh Goel, who was a badminton maestro and a couple of years senior to him.
He was known to have picked up flawless footwork and fluid stroke play while playing together with Goel.
Soon after his junior years, Syed was incorporated into the Thomas Cup squad and often competed with Prakash Padukone in the National Tournaments. He had all a perfect player should have in terms of the sport, whether it was the strokes, stamina, and precision.
The Indian squad led by the Arjuna Award winner won the bronze medal at the Men’s Badminton team event in the 1982 CWG games and the 1986 Edinburgh Commonwealth Games as well.
The significance of the tournament
The Syed Modi International Badminton Championship plays an instrumental role in the history of Indian Badminton, commemorating the legacy of the ace Indian shuttler, Syed Modi. The tournament is usually held at the Baba Banarasi Das Indoor Stadium in Lucknow.
The tournament was organised as a national-level tournament each year in Lucknow starting in 1991 till 2003 and was opened to international shuttlers in 2004 before the annual tournament was paused for four years due to a disagreement between the Uttar Pradesh Badminton Association and the Government of Uttar Pradesh.
The championship was formally conceived as a part of the BWF Grand Prix Tournament in 2009, and the tournament was upgraded to the Grand Prix Gold Event in a span of two years.
The Championship underwent its series of evolution but all in tandem with the BWF criteria. Fascinatingly, from 2018 onwards, the Syed Modi India International was counted as one of the key tournaments in the BWF World Tour Super 300 league.
The tournament was cancelled in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 situation in India but was again organised in 2022.
Prominent Players In Badminton Arena
P.V. Sindhu, Lakshya Sen, H.S. Prannoy, Saina Nehwal, Srikanth Kidambi, and Parupalli Kashyap are the household names for every badminton fan today in India.
Amongst the international talent that aced in the Syed Modi International Badminton Championship over the years are Carolina Marin, Han Yue, Wang Tzu Wei, and more.
Top Indian and International Shuttlers
Historically, in the Women’s Singles category, Nehwal won the 2009 Syed Modi International Badminton title by defeating her then compatriot Aditi Mutatkar 21- 17, 21- 13. It was in the same year that Saina achieved the World rank no.2, and in 2015, she climbed up to rank no.1, technically being the first female player from India to do so.
The two-time Olympic Games medalist Sindhu defeated Mavika Bansod in straight sets of 21-13 21-16 in the 2022 Syed Modi International Badminton Tournament. Sindhu is a decorated athlete in India and is known for her exceptional defence and big booming smashes as a part of her attack strategy on the court.
Carolina Marin was crowned the champion of the Women’s Singles in the 2019 Syed Modi India International, showcasing her dominance as the Spaniard only lost a single game in the whole tournament owing to her very sharp and swift playing tactics.
Sameer Verma ruled the tournament as a title winner for two consecutive years in the 2017 and 2018 Syed Modi International Badminton Tournament.
The 28-year-old Taiwanese shuttler Tzu Wei is set to play against Christo Popov of France in the first round and can potentially set up a quarter-final tie against Mithun Manjunath.
Players To Watch Out For
Under various categories, the following top-seeded players are expected to be seen in the coveted tournament.
H.S. Prannoy, who is India’s no.1 shuttler in the Men’s Singles category, made a comeback in the Japan Masters Badminton 2023 tournament after sustaining a back injury during the Hangzhou Asian Games.
Fourth-seed Lakshya Sen recently won the 2023 Canada Open Title, in which he played against China’s Li Shifeng and defeated him in straight sets 21-18, 22-20. Sen was also awarded the Arjuna Award for Badminton in 2022, owing to his stellar performance that year.
Amongst the female shuttlers, it is quite sad to see the absence of Indian Shuttlers in the Top seeds of the tournament. Pornpawee Chochuwong, the first-seeded shuttler, is going to play against Aakarshi Kashyap in the first round. Thai shuttler Supanida Katethong is the second-seed player while Japanese shuttler Aya Ohori is seeded third in women’s singles.
The Significance Of The BWF World Tour
BWF has introduced a new format this year for a tenure of the next four years (2023-26). The four newly announced tournaments are to take place in countries like Japan, Canada, Finland and Australia from this year onwards.
The BWF tour championships hold a second-grade significance after the Olympics, Asian Games, Commonwealth Games, and championships like the Thomas Cup, the Uber Cup, and the Sudirman Cup.
Tournaments defined by BWF are Super 1000, Super 750, Super 500, Super 300, and Super 100 come under grade 2 in the system.
Importance of the tour in the badminton calendar
The Syed Modi International Badminton Tournament has gained huge significance in the Badminton Calendar ever since its inclusion in the BWF World Tour Championships. The last of the several BWF Super 300 events on the calendar has a cash prize of USD 150,000.
The winners of the singles events usually get 7.5% of the prize money on offer, with the runners-up getting 3.8% of the total prize money. In the doubles events, the winner(s) get 7.9% of the total prize money, while the runners-up get 3.8% of the prize money.
Betting Tips for Badminton Buffs
For bettors who are interested in putting a wager on badminton, one should keep in mind that the bets should be spread across the players and matches. Backing a certain shuttler has brought wealth to many bettors but it is also a high-risk move as any shuttler getting knocked out of a certain tournament means the end of the line for the bettor who has predicted the favorite to win the certain tournament.
Decoding the game for better bets
Badminton is a sport dominated by athletes with great foot movement, reflexes, and the mental ability to dominate the opponent. While placing a bet, one should look at the previous few matches of the shuttlers involved, head-to-head record, age, playing style, and the venue of the match which often gives home advantage to certain shuttlers.