Sunday, May 11, 2014
Text by Dev Sukumar | BADMINTONPHOTO
The who’s who of international badminton will clash at this year’s BWF World Championships in Denmark’s capital.
From Malaysia’s Lee Chong Wei (left), China’s Chen Long and Thailand’s Ratchanok Intanon (featured image) in singles, to Korea’s Lee Yong Dae and Denmark’s Christinna Pedersen in doubles, top shuttlers have confirmed their places at the Major Event in August, following the first stage of the draw.
China have confirmed their top three Men’s Singles players as Chen Long, Du Pengyu and Wang Zhengming, who were ranked 2, 6 and 7 respectively in the World Rankings List of 24th April 2014 (ranking date for the World Championships). If these three names are again confirmed at the end of Phase-II (15 May), China will have a maximum of one spot left in the Men’s Singles draw. No.15 Tian Houwei is next in line to make the draw and will clinch a place if there are any non-confirmations/withdrawals in Phase-II. If there are no other non-confirmations/withdrawals, Tian will head the Reserves List if his name too has been confirmed in Phase-II.
Defending champion Lin Dan, ranked No.83, can only hope to make the cut from the Reserves List but an accurate picture will emerge at the end of Phase-II after all withdrawals/non-confirmations have been taken into account. A country cannot exceed four entries in any event.
As in Men’s Singles, China have three players in the top-8 rankings of Women’s Singles and all three – Li Xuerui, Wang Shixian and Wang Yihan – have confirmed. Defending champion Intanon, Korea’s Sung Ji Hyun and Bae Yeon Ju, Chinese Taipei’s Tai Tzu Ying and India’s Saina Nehwal and Sindhu PV are other top contenders.
In Men’s Doubles, one of the main points of interest for fans would have been the participation of Korea’s Lee Yong Dae and Kim Ki Jung. Despite a brief lay-off due to unfortunate circumstances, the two have confirmed their participation, alongside their regular partners Yoo Yeon Seong (above) and Kim Sa Rang respectively. Defending champions Mohammad Ahsan/Hendra Setiawan of Indonesia, Denmark’s Mathias Boe/Carsten Mogensen and China’s Liu Xiaolong/Qiu Zihan and Hong Wei/Chai Biao are among those set to battle for the title.
The two dominant Women’s Doubles pairs in recent times – China’s Bao Yixin/Tang Jinhua (right) and defending champions Yu Yang/Wang Xiaoli – have both confirmed. All of their likely challengers, including Denmark’s Christinna Pedersen/Kamilla Rytter Juhl, Korea’s Kim So Young/Jang Ye Na and Japan’s Ayaka Takahashi/Misaki Matsutomo and Miyuki Maeda/Reika Kakiiwa, have also assented.
In Mixed Doubles, a prominent Korean duo – Yoo Yeon Seong/Jang Ye Na – have made way for their compatriots Kim Ki Jung/Kim So Young to get an invitation for Phase-II. Olympic champions Zhang Nan/Zhao Yunlei (China), defending champions Tontowi Ahmad/Liliyana Natsir (Indonesia), BWF World Superseries Finals champions Joachim Fischer Nielsen/Christinna Pedersen (Denmark) and Hong Kong Open champions Chris/Gabrielle Adcock have all confirmed for a contest that looks mouth-wateringly close.
Invitations will now be extended to a few more players/pairs in each discipline due to the non-confirmation of eligible players in Phase-I. All the entries will again have to be confirmed by their respective Member Associations by Thursday 15 May. If there are any subsequent withdrawals, the spots will be taken in turn by the highest-ranked eligible player from the Reserves List.