The star attraction of a star studded Barfoot & Thompson New Zealand Badminton Open arrives into New Zealand for the first time tomorrow (Sunday). Chinese superstar and two time Olympic Games gold medalist Lin Dan touches down at 5:30pm (NZT) at Auckland International Airport, making his long awaited first visit to New Zealand to prepare for a Wednesday night first round men’s singles appearance at the North Shore Events Centre.

Dan is more than just a badminton star, revered in his homeland and followed by 16 million on social media within China alone, Dan’s every move is watched throughout China, Asia and the badminton world. The former world champion is currently ranked at 7 in the world, but that ranking is as much due to a reduction in the number of tournaments he plays, as it is any results.

CLICK HERE for more on Lin Dan

While the 34 year old Dan is top seed and clear favourite in the men’s singles, the Chinese left hander is part of a very strong men’s singles field, with 3 players ranked inside the top 15 in the world, the quality of the entry list is such that 2017 champion Lee Cheuk Yiu (Hong Kong) is outside the seedings, arriving as the 9th ranked player in the draw, while the current world junior singles champion Kunlavut Vitidsarn (Thailand) will have to come through qualifying.

Event Director Julie Carrel is quick to point out the depth of the tournament, with world class players in all events, but is delighted to be headed to the airport tomorrow to welcome such a superstar of the sport to New Zealand for the first time.

“We are thrilled again with the quality and depth of the entry list across all disciplines at the Barfoot & Thompson New Zealand Open. We have worked hard on our reputation and the manner in which we look after players on and off court here in New Zealand, and players love coming here. The fans support the tournament superbly, they are very vocal in behind their favourites, creating a wonderful atmosphere at the Events Centre throughout the week, but especially at the business end of the tournament.

“But I have to say there is a buzz around the event, around our organising team, the sponsors and the badminton community about having a player like Lin Dan coming to play here. He is such a star, two times an Olympic gold medalist, he has been world champion and a part of so many successful Chinese national teams. Indications are already that his opening singles match on Wednesday night is going to be played in front of big crowds, we are already advising fans to book their tickets online and get there early to get the best seats.”

In total the tournament boasts two top ten players or combinations, 12 in the top 20, and an amazing 40 players or combinations ranked inside the top 50 in the world.

For full draw and schedule for all events, CLICK HERE and follow the prompts on the dropdown menu


Lin Dan Airport Welcome

Sunday 29 April, 5:30pm landing at Auckland International Airport, on CA783 from Beijing
Media invited to attend, along with Event Director Julie Carrel


Media Accreditation

CLICK HERE to fill out the accreditation form, or contact Andrew Dewhurst on this email or mobile below



The tournament gets underway on Tuesday May 1st at the North Shore Events Centre, with a charity event scheduled for the Tuesday evening to launch the tournament on a night that will feature fun, entertainment, a charity auction and two main draw mixed doubles matches.

Media and fans are invited to attend from 6pm, and purchase tickets to ‘Smashing for Starship’ at the North Shore Events Centre, a fundraising event that will provide those fans (and media) the chance to play on the tournament courts, alongside stars of the tournament and special guests including former All Black Keven Mealamu, current Mystics and former Silver Fern netballer Anna Harrison, and leading New Zealand tennis player Marina Erakovic.

The night will include finger food, entertainment and the auction of some exclusive items, with all proceeds going towards Starship Foundation, the official charity of the Barfoot & Thompson New Zealand Badminton Open, before the evening concludes with the playing of the two main draw mixed doubles matches.

For more on Smashing for Starship, CLICK HERE