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China's badminton stars heading here for Singapore Badminton Open

Chen Long, Chen Yufei and Lin Dan among those who have signed up for S'pore Badminton Open in April

China's top shuttlers such as reigning Olympic champion Chen Long, five-time world champion Lin Dan and women's world No. 1 Chen Yufei have confirmed their participation of the Singapore Badminton Open from April 7-12.

The organisers announced yesterday that the trio are on a 42-player list that China have submitted for the Super 500 event at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.

Chen Long, currently ranked world No. 4, is hoping that the tournament will help him prepare for the Tokyo Olympics, which take place from July 24-Aug 8.

This is the second straight year that the 31-year-old will be competing at the Singapore Badminton Open. Last year, he reached the quarter-finals, where he lost to Indonesia's Anthony Ginting.

Chen Long did not have the best of seasons in 2019. Despite reaching four finals, the two-time world champion clinched only one title - the French Open.

However, he is seeking to redeem himself this year, highlighting that every tournament will be crucial in getting him ready for his title defence at the Olympics.

"I've gone through many changes in 2019, such as becoming a father," Chen, who married fellow shuttler Wang Shixian three years ago, said in a media statement.

"This new experience has played a huge part in making me stronger mentally and I'll look to bring that to my game.

"My goal for 2020 is still the same, which is to firstly qualify for the Olympics and then to successfully defend my title.

"I know it will be a huge challenge and every tournament such as the Singapore Badminton Open 2020 will give me the practice I need to get to that end goal."

Like Chen Long, this will also be the second straight year that Lin Dan will be here for the Badminton World Federation (BWF) fourth-tier event, which carries a total prize purse of US$408,000 (S$550,000).

But badminton fans here will be hoping to see more of the 36-year-old, who retired from his match against Viktor Axelsen after just 14 minutes last year, following disagreements with the umpire's calls.

The former world No. 1 later cited a thigh injury for ending his match prematurely .

Last year's men's singles title was won by Japan's Kento Momota, but it is not known yet if he will be back to defend his crown.

The 25-year-old could be out for two months, after being injured in a car crash following his Malaysia Masters triumph last week.

He is aiming to return at the All England Championships in March.

WORLD NO. 1

But China's Chen Yufei, the women's world No. 1, will be here.

The 21-year-old had a breakout 2019, during which she topped the world ranking for the first time and justified it by defeating Taiwan's former world No. 1 Tai Tzu-ying to win the HSBC BWF World Tour title last month.

Yufei has since followed it up with her first title of the year, winning the Malaysia Masters by beating Tai again last week.

Also heading here are China's top-ranked women's doubles pair of Chen Qingchen and Jia Yifan, the men's doubles pair of Li Junhui and Liu Yuchen (world No. 3) and mixed doubles duo of Wang Yilyu and Huang Dongping (No. 2).


FYI

What: Singapore Badminton Open

When: April 7-12

Where: Singapore Indoor Stadium

Early-bird tickets are available through APACtix. For details, visit www.singaporebadminton.org.sg

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