English duo relaunch career and promises 20 % of prize money to Solibad

Suzanne Rayappan and new partner Sarah Bok are on track after a 3 and a half year break from International competition and to celebrate their “new” career, have decided to give a charity twist to their new partnership. They will donate to Solibad – Badminton without Borders a percentage of all the prize money that they will gain in their future events, starting this week in Bahrein in the International challenge.

This is the first time that badminton players are sharing prize money on a long term basis. In the past – top players had given some of their memorable collection items to raise funds for Solibad (Peter Gade gave away shirts, rackets and even his Gold medal of the European Championships while Nathan Robertson for instance had sold his Olympic kits for Solibad, just like Koo Kien Keat or Lee Yong Dae), but Rayappan and Bok are taking this sense of solidarity one step further.

 » I wanted to encourage a scheme where Solibad would receive regular support from circuit players. If only a handful of players pledged 5% of prize money that would make a massive difference so I thought it would be a good idea and asked Sarah to get involved” says Rayappan, who has also another career on the side as a R&B singer (under the pseudo Raya) with connection to the World of music which is used to regular operations between top stars and Charity Organizations. Rayappan and Bok said they would give back 20 % of their prize money to Solibad.

For Pi Hongyan, Global Ambassador and active member of Solibad, this is something that players or tournaments could do in the future « This is a great idea as it gives a bit of money more regularly for our projects and that’s what we need. Hopefully, in the future, few other players will offer similar gift to Solibad, or event tournaments – for example, if a 500 000 US $ would only give back 1 % of its prize money, then – this would mean a lot to us – we could start a new project » said the recently retired shuttler.

Rayappan and Bok are equipped by Babolat – a French brand which was seduced by the idea of them giving back some of their prize money to the French born foundation. “Babolat is a brand committed to racquet sports players. We are very proud to support such a generous initiative that will help the Foundation” says Nicolas Sene, Badminton Business Manager at Babolat.

They have entered their first event under the new partnership, in Bahrain, with the hope to do well and be able to contribute to Solibad from their tournaments, eying at a second tournament in Turkey later this year.

Suzanne Rayappan was last seen on the International stage in the Swiss Open in March of 2009 when she was partnering Heather Olver in the women’s doubles and David Lindley in the mixed double. She has a career high at the 11th spot on the world ranking, while Sarah Bok was a successful junior player and part of Badminton England’s promising prospects when she stopped playing in 2009 at the age of 24.

Solibad is currently expanding its way of working together with players, sponsors and brands, with contacts with big badminton brands regarding limited Edition and special collection of badminton equipment.

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