Sports

Olympic rehearsal in Singapore for world's top shuttlers

Most of world's top-10 players in 5 categories coming for April 7-12 S'pore Badminton Open

A prelude of the battle for Olympic supremacy is set to play out at next month's Singapore Badminton Open.

Organisers announced yesterday that except for men's world No. 1 Kento Momota - who is out for another two months after undergoing facial surgery - the world's top-10 shuttlers in the men and women's singles and doubles have confirmed their participation in the April 7-12 event at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.

All but one of the world's top-10 mixed doubles pairs will be here too.

India's world No. 6 P.V. Sindhu was one of the latest to sign up for the Singapore competition.

The 24-year-old, who settled for silver after losing to Carolina Marin at the Rio Olympics final in 2016, said in a media release: "One gold medal is missing, so definitely I will work hard for that.

"I know it's not going to be easy. I'm currently doing a lot of work on my technique and skill workouts."

She will be facing a tough challenge from other top shuttlers such as Marin, defending champion Tai Tzu-ying, China's Chen Yufei and He Bingjiao, and Japan's Nozomi Okuhara and Akane Yamaguchi.

The men's line-up includes world No. 2 Chou Tien-chen, Denmark's Viktor Axelsen and China's Chen Long, Shi Yuqi and Lin Dan.

China's shuttlers had withdrawn from last month's Badminton Asia Team Championships in Manila due to a 14-day quarantine imposed on travellers from the country, following the coronavirus outbreak.

Most of them have been training in England ahead of next week's All England Open, reported the media in China.

Singapore Badminton Open's organisers are confident of a "safe" and "anxiety-free" tournament.

Organising chairman Robert Lim said: "Our prime priority is the well-being of the players, our spectators, our event personnel and, of course, Singapore.

PRECAUTIONS

"While we are excited to have the world's best players competing at this year's Singapore Open, we are also determinedly focused on having all precautionary measures in place."

These include temperature checks before entry to the Singapore Indoor Stadium, and an increased frequency of cleaning and disinfection of the venue and common areas.

Singapore will be represented by a 22-strong contingent headlined by Loh Kean Yew and Yeo Jia Min.

Loh, who defeated world No. 2 Chou at the Badminton Asia Team Championships, said: "I look forward to competing in front of the home crowd... and with their support, I hope to go as far as possible in the tournament."

Tickets are available via Apactix. Go to singaporebadmintonopen.com.sg for more information.

"One gold medal is missing, so definitely I will work hard for that. I know it's not going to be easy."

- P.V. Sindhu, India's world No. 6 and 2016 Olympic silver medallist

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