The 2024 badminton season is all set to begin with the Malaysia Open in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday. The Super 1000 event will mark the beginning of an intense seven-month period leading up to the big ticket event – the 2024 Paris Olympic Games.

The Olympic qualification period in badminton started on May 1 last year and will conclude on April 28 later this year. This means that the first quarter of the year will effectively decide which shuttlers make it to the quadrennial event in the French capital.

Badminton fans will be treated to two Super 1000s, two Super 750s, a Super 500, five Super 300s alongside three continental team and individual championships each in the next four months.

Interestingly, two tournaments – the prestigious All England Open Super 1000 and the Orleans Masters Super 300, will be played on the same dates, putting the shuttlers in a precarious position as where to compete in.

The higher the level of tournament, the higher ranking points the shuttlers can rake in, but also naturally higher the competition.

Tournaments in the run up to Paris Olympics

Tournament Level Dates
Malaysia Open Super 1000 January 9-14
India Open Super 750 January 16-21
Indonesia Masters Super 500 January 23-28
Thailand Masters Super 300 January 30-February 4
Oceania Individual Open Championships Continental Championships February 12-15
All Africa Individual Championships Continental Championships February 16-18
Asian Team Championships Continental Championships February 13-18
European Team Championships Continental Championships February 14-18
Pan American Team Championships Continental Championships February 15-18
German Open Super 300 February 27-March 3
French Open Super 750 March 5-10
Orleans Masters Super 300 March 12-17
All England Open Super 1000 March 12-17
Swiss Open Super 300 March 19-24
Madrid Spain Masters Super 300 March 26-31
Badminton Asia Championships Continental Championships April 9-14
European Championships Continental Championships April 9-14
Pan Am Individual Championships Continental Championships April 11-14

As far as India is concerned, only HS Prannoy in men’s singles and the men’s doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty are comfortably placed in the Olympic Games Qualification rankings.

While Prannoy is placed eighth in the qualification rankings, Rankireddy and Shetty are slotted fifth.

A country or a National Olympic committee can send two athletes in the singles section, if both of them are ranked in top 16 of the Olympic Games Qualification rankings and similarly in doubles a country can send two pairs if both pairs are ranked in top eight of the rankings.

Both Prannoy and the pair of Rankireddy and Shetty also enter the new season on the back of a successful 2023, where they marked many firsts for Indian badminton. While the men’s doubles pair became the first from the country to win an Asian Championships gold and the first shuttlers to win an Asian Games gold, Prannoy claimed his first World Championships medal before adding an Asian Games medal to his tally.

The same, however, cannot be said about Lakshya Sen, who struggled with form and fitness throughout the last season. The 2021 World Championships bronze medallist is placed 17th in the men’s singles rankings, just outside the top-16 automatic Olympic Games Qualification spot, making the next few months extremely crucial for the youngster.

Veteran Kidambi Srikanth, who had also missed out on qualifying for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, is currently placed 24th. Much like Sen, the former world No. 1 too will have to put the disappointment of the 2023 season behind him, if he is to book a ticket for Paris.

In the women’s singles section, double Olympic medallist PV Sindhu is placed 10th in the Olympic Games Qualification rankings. Though she is well within reach of a Paris quota, she is expected to be out of action until the start of February with an injury.

Sindhu had protected her BWF rankings in November and has since joined hands with a new coach in Agus Dwi Santoso. The 28-year-old also blew hot and cold throughout the last season, which saw her make a comeback after an injury sustained at the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games, before stopping her season mid-way with yet another injury.

However, the most mouth-watering of contest for India lies in the women’s doubles section with the pair of Ashwini Ponnappa and Tanisha Crasto placed 14th in the Olympic Games Qualification Rankings, thanks to their rapid rise in the final quarter of 2023. The more fancied Treesa Jolly and Gayatri Gopichand are currently placed below them and have an important few months ahead of them, if they are to overtake Ponnappa and Crasto to qualify for Paris with two slots for India looking increasingly unlikely.

The mixed doubles, on the other hand, paints a bleak picture for India. The highest ranked pair of Rohan Kapoor and Sikki Reddy are placed 41st and will need some high profile results in the next few months to stand a chance.