BADMINTON SUPERSTAR HEADLINES STRONG FIELD FOR BARFOOT & THOMPSON NZ OPEN
Two-time Olympic Games gold medalist and former men’s singles world champion Lin Dan highlights the entry list for the Barfoot & Thompson New Zealand Badminton Open, with the Chinese superstar headlining the BWF Super 300 event at the North Shore Events Centre, starting next Tuesday May 1st.
With gold medals from both the Beijing and London Olympic Games to his name and the 2011 World Championship, Dan is badminton royalty, with a host of other titles and trophies on an illustrious CV. With a tournament entry ranking of 7 in the world, Dan brings great form to New Zealand, having finished runner-up at the 2018 All England Open in March.
Dan is part of a very strong men’s singles field however, 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.
Given the quality of the entry list, there is just one Kiwi in the Men’s Singles main draw, with New Zealand and Oceania Champion Abhinav Manota (North Harbour) given a wildcard entry.
Event Director Julie Carrel is over the moon to yet again have attracted such a star-studded field, highlighted by Dan, but featuring world class entries from 23 countries.
“Yet again the popularity of the Barfoot & Thompson New Zealand Open is evident in the quality of the entry list and the countries that have again committed to sending strong teams.
“The depth of quality is wonderful, but to have such a headline act as Lin Dan is incredible. He is an absolute superstar, up there with the best the sport has seen and is still playing incredible badminton as his recent results attest to. New Zealanders may not appreciate quite the superstar we are hosting here, Lin Dan has over 17 million followers on Weibo in China alone and is revered in his home country as a sports star and celebrity, his presence here will resonate throughout the badminton world but in particular throughout Asia.
“The quality of the players in all events mean fans are in for a treat throughout the week with the likelihood of sellouts very strong for semifinals and finals – I urge everyone to get your tickets quickly and avoid disappointment.”
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.
Other highlights include all eight of the women’s seeds ranking inside the top 50 in the world, including the two finalists from the 2017 World Junior Championships in Gregoria Tunjung (Indonesia) and Han Yue (China). Sally Fu is the sole Kiwi in the main draw, again thanks to a wildcard.
Men’s doubles feature the world number 7 pairing from Chinese Taipei at the top of the seedings, but there will be great interest in the pairing from Malaysia and Korea. Boon Heong Tan (Malaysia) and Yoo Yeon Seong (Korea) are both former world number one ranked players and have multiple world championship medals between them.
The mixed doubles feature a return for defending champions Ronald Ronald and Annisa Saufika (Indonesia) while the women’s doubles feature the current world junior champions from Korea in Ha Na Baek and Yu Rim Lee.
New Zealand’s leading players will fight their way through qualifying as they endeavour to take a place in the main draw, with the likes of Oscar Guo (North Harbour), Dylan Soedjasa (North Harbour) featuring in the men’s singles while Soedjasa pairs up with Susannah Leydon-Davis in the mixed doubles, with Leydon-Davis having just returned from the Commonwealth Games.
For full draw and schedule for all events, CLICK HERE and follow the prompts on the dropdown menu
SMASHING FOR STARSHIP – TUESDAY MAY 1ST
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 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
ACG EDUCATION WELCOMED TO SPONSORSHIP FAMILY
And in yet more great news for the tournament, Badminton NZ CEO Joe Hitchcock today confirmed ACG Education as a major partner to the event.
Over the past twenty years ACG Education have built an innovative, student-centred learning community that provides outstanding education opportunities for students in New Zealand and internationally. ACG Education offer international curricula and qualifications in private schools for Years 1-13, as well as specialist language courses and University Entrance qualifications for international students wishing to study at an English language university.
Like the Barfoot & Thompson New Zealand Badminton Open, ACG Education caters to a diverse and global market that centres on excellence and achievement.
For more on the ACG Education announcement, CLICK HERE