Road to Paris 2024: Navigating the Badminton Qualification Journey

The 2024 Summer Olympics, known as Paris 2024, is the upcoming XXXIII Olympiad scheduled to take place in France from July 26 to August 11, 2024. Paris will serve as the main host city, along with 16 other cities in metropolitan France, and one subsite in Tahiti, part of French Polynesia. 

The event was awarded to Paris at the 131st IOC Session in Lima, Peru, on September 13, 2017. With only Paris and Los Angeles remaining in contention after several withdrawals, the IOC decided to simultaneously award the 2024 and 2028 Summer Olympics to both cities. This will be Paris' third time hosting the Summer Olympics, following their previous editions in 1900 and 1924, making it the second city, after London, to achieve this feat. 

Paris 2024 coincides with the centenary of the 1924 Games and marks the sixth Olympic Games hosted by France. It will also be the first French Olympics since the 1992 Winter Olympics in Albertville. Following Paris 2024, the Summer Games will revert to the traditional four-year Olympiad cycle, as the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo were postponed by a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Paris 2024 will introduce breaking (commonly known as breakdancing) as a new Olympic event. These Games will also be the last held during the presidency of IOC President Thomas Bach. Another significant aspect is that Paris 2024 aims for gender equality, featuring an equal number of male and female athletes. Discussions and debates surrounding the participation of Russian, Belarusian, and Israeli athletes have taken place in the lead-up to the event. The estimated cost of the Games is €8.3 billion. 

The anticipation for the 2024 Summer Olympics, fondly known as Paris 2024, continues to build, athletes and badminton enthusiasts alike are eager to understand the intricate pathway that leads to Olympic qualification. In this guide, we unravel the key details of the badminton qualification system set by the Badminton World Federation (BWF), highlighting the milestones, challenges, and notable players to watch on this thrilling journey to Paris.

2024 Summer Olympics - Wikipedia
Paris 2024 (Credit: Wikipedia)

To qualify for badminton at the Paris 2024 Olympics, athletes and teams will follow a qualification pathway determined by the Badminton World Federation (BWF). Here's a summary of the key information:

 1. Quota Places:- A total of 172 quota places will be awarded for badminton at Paris 2024 (86 for women and 86 for men). - 83 quota places per gender will be allocated via direct qualification. - One quota place is reserved for the host country, and two for Universality places. - A maximum of eight different athletes per gender from the same National Olympic Committee (NOC) will be allowed to participate.

2. Allocation of Quota Places: - Quota places will be allocated to NOCs, not individual athletes. - Quota places for men's and women's singles events will be awarded to NOCs with athletes ranked between 1 and 16 in the 'Paris Ranking Lists.' - In doubles events, two quota places (for four athletes) are awarded to NOCs with two or more pairs ranked between 1 and 8. 

3. Paris Ranking Lists:- The 'Paris Ranking Lists' as of 30 April 2024 will be used for quota allocation. - The lists will be based on results achieved between 1 May 2023 and 28 April 2024. - Results from various competitions, including Thomas & Uber Cup, Sudirman Cup, World Championships, BWF tour tournaments, Continental Championships, and other approved international events, will be considered. 

Badminton - Paris 2024
Paris 2024 Olympic Games (Credit: Paris 2024)

4. Qualification Pathway for Single Events:- 70 athletes (35 men and 35 women) will qualify for singles events through the BWF 'Race to Paris Ranking List.' - Continental Representation Places will ensure at least two athletes from each of the five BWF Continental Confederations, provided the player is ranked 250 or above. 

5. Qualification Pathway for Doubles Events:- 48 pairs will qualify for doubles events through the BWF 'Race to Paris Ranking Lists.' - In each doubles event, there will be at least one pair from each of the five BWF Continental Confederations. 

6. Competition Format and Schedule:- The badminton competitions will take place at the Porte de La Chapelle Arena in Paris from 27 July to 5 August 2024. - The format includes group and knockout stages for both singles and doubles events. 

7. Athletes to Watch:- Notable players to watch include Viktor Axelsen, Momota Kento, Carolina Marin, CHEN Quingchen, JIA Yifan, and others. 

8. Qualification Timeline:- The qualification period is from 1 May 2023 to 28 April 2024. - Deadline for NOCs to submit Universality Places requests: 15 January 2024. - The 'Race to Paris Ranking Lists' will be published on 30 April 2024. - The qualification process will be finalized by 8 July 2024, just before the Olympic Games. 

Indian Squad for 2024 Paris Olympics (Credit: The Quint)

In the heart of the enchanting Parisian summer, the badminton courts will witness a symphony of skill and determination as athletes strive for glory at the 2024 Summer Olympics. From the allocation of coveted quota places to the intense competition outlined in the 'Race to Paris Ranking Lists,' the qualification process promises to be a riveting chapter in the lead-up to the Games. 

As we eagerly await the crowning of champions and the introduction of breakdancing as a new Olympic event, Paris 2024 is poised to be an extraordinary celebration of athletic prowess, global unity, and the spirit of competition. The badminton qualification journey is an integral part of this grand narrative, adding layers of excitement and anticipation to the spectacle that awaits on the badminton courts in the City of Lights.

Cover Credit - The Economic Times

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