THE unique format of the Axiata Cup, the richest team event in the world, offering US$1 million (RM3 million) has already won praise from some of the world class players and is expected to grow in the Asean region in future.
Tournament director James White said fine tuning will be made to turn Axiata Cup as one of the most sought after team events and also attract more world class players outside the Asean nations to compete in the team event.
The format of two singles and one doubles over four weekends between March 23 and April 15 saw the players juggling between the Axiata Cup and international ranking tournaments without much trouble.
Indonesia Garuda walked away with the top prize of US$400,000 (RM1.2 million) while runners-up Indonesia Rajawali took home US$200,000 as losing semi-finalists Malaysia Tigers and Leopards settled for US$100,000 each.
"We want more fans to come and enjoy the matches and the promotional activities will be intensified next year to increase the popularity of the Axiata Cup. The players themselves have said they loved interacting with the fans as we had some meet the fans sessions in Kuala Lumpur and Jakarta," said White.
"The home and away format is quite an interesting one and has never been done before in badminton and I think the fans took to it well. It was quite exciting as a team can come back even if they lose the first leg.
"There will be some fine tuning of the rules as we want to make it an event which can attract all the best players in the world.
"Overall, the tournament has been quite successful and I think the fans have enjoyed it.
"We would also consider spreading the competition to more cities in the Asean countries to give the opportunity for more fans to come and witness the finest players of the region in action and this is something we would consider next year.
The Asean league is our long term goal but before that, we want to do more to establish the Axiata Cup as one of the finest badminton events." By K.M. Boopathy