HS Prannoy will be India’s sole representative at the prestigious season-ending BWF World Tour Finals event starting in Bangkok from 7 December, as the governing body confirmed withdrawals and a final list of players on Tuesday.

A former winner of the event, India’s PV Sindhu withdrew from the season finale recently after failing to fully recover from the ankle injury she suffered at the 2022 Commonwealth Games. Her absence was confirmed as one of the three withdrawals by the BWF.

Nami Matsuyama/Chiharu Shida (women’s doubles), and Yuta Watanabe/Arisa Higashino (mixed doubles) are also out with injury.

They have been replaced by Gregoria Mariska Tunjung (Indonesia), Apriyani Rahayu/Siti Fadia Silva Ramadhanti (Indonesia), and Supak Jomkoh/Supissara Paewsampran (Thailand) respectively – all being the next player or pairs in the rankings.

Based on the season’s rankings, only Prannoy and Sindhu had made the cut for the event. Sindhu had ensured qualification with three titles on the tour, coming at the Syed Modi International, Swiss Open and Singapore Open, even before her season-ending injury at CWG.

Prannoy, meanwhile, has been one of the most consistent players on tour. While the wait for a title has not ended for him, he reached the final of Swiss Open and semifinals of the Indonesia Open and Malaysia Masters. He reached at least the quarterfinals in seven events on tour this year, a feat that has seen him return to the top 15 in world rankings. He will also be returning to Bangkok, the venue of India’s historic Thomas Cup triumph earlier this year where he won all five of his matches.

Back in Bangkok

The season-ending BWF World Tour Finals returns to Bangkok after the city last hosted it in January 2021. The tournament was recently relocated from Guangzhou, China.

The BWF had said that the decision to shift the tournament due to “various challenges brought about by the current pandemic situation.” The tournament has also been rescheduled to be held from 7-11 December, one week earlier than it was scheduled to be held in Guangzhou

A total of 24 qualifying events all around the world – including 19 HSBC BWF World Tour tournaments – were played beginning with the India Open 2022 in January this year.

The by-invitation Finals features the top eight players and pairs on the BWF World Tour Rankings, with a maximum of two players or pairs per Member Association eligible. The current world champions gain automatic entry.

Players will be competing for a total prize pool of US$1.5 million.

The likes of Viktor Axelsen, Chen Yu Fei, Fajar Alfian/Muhammad Rian Ardianto, and Zheng Si Wei/Huang Ya Qiong ensured their qualification early in the season.

Axelsen will look to sign off on another great season while Chou Tien Chen, Prannoy, Jonatan Christie, Kodai Naraoka, Lu Guang Zu, Anthony Sinisuka Ginting and Loh Kean Yew will attempt to upset his monopoly. The surprise package of the circuit so far has been Naraoka, who won the Vietnam Open and finishing runner-up in three tournaments.

In women’s singles, Chen leads the qualifiers followed by Tai Tzu Ying, He Bing Jiao and An Se Young. Ratchanok Intanon and Busanan Ongbamrungphan will ensure local flavour to the competition. Gregoria Mariska Tunjung replaces Sindhu in the Top 8.

Indonesia booked the top two places in men’s doubles through Alfian/Ardianto and Mohammad Ahsan/Hendra Setiawan. Two Malaysian pairs, Ong Yew Sin/Teo Ee Yi and world champions Aaron Chia/Soh Wooi Yik, will also feature in Bangkok.

Jeong Na Eun/Kim Hye Jeong topped the women’s doubles qualifiers. Thai sisters Benyapa and Nuntakarn Aimsaard also had a great year and will be avidly followed by home fans. Indonesia’s Rahayu/Ramadhanti earned a late call up as replacements for Matsuyama/Shida.

In mixed doubles, local interest will focus on Dechapol Puavaranukroh/Sapsiree Taerattanachai, who are aiming for a third straight end-of-season crown against top competition like world champions Si Wei/Ya Qiong and Olympic champions Wang Yi Lyu/Huang Dong Ping. Home fans can also cheer for Supak Jomkoh/Supissara Paewsampran who are late replacements for Yuta Watanabe/Arisa Higashino.

BWF Player of the Year Awards

The annual BWF Player of the Year Awards will be held on Monday 5 December in conjunction with the BWF World Tour Finals 2022 gala dinner.

The full list of nominees is available here

Nominees were selected based on performance in the 2022 season up to 31 October. In Para badminton, the BWF Awards Commission gave special allowance for the BWF Para Badminton World Championships 2022, which concluded on 6 November, to be included in the list of eligible tournaments.