The World’s First Open (Professional) Badminton Tournament.
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Photo: Peter Richardson
The Badminton Association of England anticipating that Open Badminton was coming had already started planning and was able to stage the First Open Badminton Tournament with the co-operation of Friends Provident Life Office and the Royal Albert Hall only four months later. To receive prize money players had to be licensed. Total prize money distributed in the Men’s Singles and Ladies’ Singles was £7,500 the winner receiving £3,000, while in the Men’s and Ladies’ Doubles prize money totaled £2,850 the winning pair sharing £1,500. The tournament was played in groups of four, singles runners up received £1,500, the second in any group £750, third £500 and fourth £250. In doubles runners up shared £1,500, third in group £400, and fourth £200.
In the men’s singles final Prakash Padakone beat Morten Frost Hansen (Denmark) 15-4,15-11. The victory was worth £3000.00 (Rs 54,000) in prize money, but Prakash was not even eligible for it, for he had played the tournament as an amateur. The money this time would swell the coffers of the Badminton Association of India (BAI) but, more importantly it would usher in an era of badminton with proper prize money and status as in other popular sports, instead of players having to make do with a ‘sham amateur’ status.
Men’s Singles Final: Prakash Padukone (India) bt Morten Frost Hansen (Denmark) 15-4,15-11.
Women’s Singles Final: Lene Koppen (Denmark) bt Gillian Gilks (England) 12-10, 11-4.
Mens Doubles Final: Thomas Kihistrom & Bengt Froman (Sweden) bt Ray Stevens & Mike Tredgett (England) 18-16, 15-9.
Women’s Doubles Final: Nora Perry & Jane Webster (England) bt Yoshiko Yonekura & Atsuko Tokuda (Japan)