Olympic stars to take centre stage at Badminton Asia Championships in Dubai

India will have their best players with two-time Olympic medallist PV Sindhu and HS Prannoy leading the challenge

By Team KT

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China's Olympic champion Chen Yufei. — Reuters
China's Olympic champion Chen Yufei. — Reuters

Published: Wed 26 Apr 2023, 10:11 PM

Dubai is set to witness the creme de la of world badminton including Olympic and World champions when it stages the KhiladiX.com Dubai 2023 Badminton Asia Championships at the Rashid bin Hamdan Hall in Al Nasr Club from April 25 to 30.

This will be the second championship Dubai will host after the successful staging of the Badminton Asia Mixed Team Championships in February this year.

The championships will witness around 300 players from 28 nations fighting for the continental crowns apart from the highest BWF world ranking points.

There will be 32 players (or pairings) in each main draw with 28 already placed and four coming from the qualifiers due to take place on the opening day.

While defending champions Lee Zii Jia from Malaysia (seeded 3) and China’s Wang Zhiyi (seeded 6) will be aiming to keep their titles, there will be top shuttlers from Indonesia, Japan, Thailand, Singapore, and India among others who are expected to pose a strong challenge.

Among the other top names include top seed and last year’s beaten finalist Jonathan Christie and Anthony Ginting (second seed) from Indonesia in men’s singles while Japanese world no. 1 Akane Yamaguchi, top seed and last year’s beaten finalist and Korean An Se Young (second seed).

Besides Wang, China will also have Olympic champion Chen Yufei, the third seed, in their women’s singles line-up.

Meanwhile, they will be represented strongly in doubles by the women’s doubles pair of Chen Qingchen and Jia Yifan and mixed doubles duo of Zheng Siwei and Huang Yaqiong, who will be aiming for a repeat of the title show.

India will have their best players with two-time Olympic medallist PV Sindhu and HS Prannoy, both seeded eighth, leading the challenge.

Speaking at the pre-tournament conference held at the General Authority of Sports: Mr. Abdulaziz Al-Hussan, Director of the Competitive Sports Department at the General Sports Authority, extended his best wishes to the players and visiting teams, besides the UAE national players.

Jassem Kanso, Continental Representative as Vice President in BWF and Treasurer of Badminton Asia said: “We are very excited ahead of this prestigious meet which will have the world's best shuttlers. It was a big challenge for Badminton Asia and UAE Badminton Federation to host this event with all the best of arrangements. And we are very thankful to the Federation for their hard work and dedication to deliver the Asian badminton fraternity with this event. Our soul is involved with this championship, and I wish the very best to all the players.”

Jassem also stressed that hosting the Championship in the UAE makes it a “unique event in the Arab world”, which will push towards the development and prosperity of badminton in the GCC region.

Home Challenge

The first round starts on Wednesday, April 26, with some of these big names starting their campaigns, while UAE players led by Bharath Latheesh begin with the qualifiers on the opening day, April 25.

Latheesh, fresh from his title wins at international junior events – Uganda Open and Spanish Open — will lead the home challenge which also comprises Emirati players Mohammad Falamarzi, Ghadeer Ali Altahri, who are all excited to make their international debuts, in the 16-member UAE team.

“This is an amazing opportunity against the best players in the world. My target is to give my best at this championship. I got a lot of confidence from my campaign at the last two international junior events, besides my match against Lee Zii Jia at the Mixed Team Championships. And I want to build on that confidence going ahead and focus on my game,” said Latheesh.

Proud Moment

UAE Badminton President Noura Aljasmi said this is a proud moment for the country to host the prestigious Badminton Asia Championships.

"After the success of the Mixed Team event, I am confident that this event is going to open doors to many Arab countries to compete at an international level," Aljasmi said.

She also acknowledged the support of the sponsors KhiladiX.com, the title sponsors, and Sobha Realty, the platinum sponsors, besides the strategic partners - The General Authority of Sport, Dubai Sports Council, Beyond Boundaries Sports Services, Al Nasr Club, The French School, Sheikh Manaa Bin Hasher Almaktoum Medical Center for their continuous support.

Francis Alfred, Managing Director of Sobha Realty, the leading luxury real estate developer in Dubai, added: “There is no doubt that Sobha Realty’s participation in sponsoring the tournament is a belief in the importance of the private sector’s role in supporting sports in general and badminton in particular. This tournament will offer a great opportunity for cooperation with the UAE and Asian Badminton Federations besides watching great competition during the championship period.”

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