The biggest event on the Asian badminton calendar set for the off Ko Sung Hyun／Kim Ha Na look to retain their title
Held last year in Taipei, this year the host city of the Badminton Asia Championships is Kimcheon. With the Asian Games set to be held in Inchon, South Korea in September this year, the results at this tournament will be indicative of which players can be expected to shine at the Games. The best players of the Korea team will be playing at the Championships, seeking to keep the titles at home for fans. Top seeded Ko Sung Hyun
／Kim Ha Na
will be attempting to retain their mixed doubles title, and China’s Lin Dan, fresh from winning the title at the Grand Prix Gold in Changzhou last week after returning from injury, will also play.
Last year’s Championships saw Ko Sung Hyun
／Kim Ha Na
playing together for the first time in a tournament and, to the surprise of many, they didn’t just make it all the way to the final they also beat Olympic gold medalists Zhang Nan／Zhao You Lei in the final. Ko
rank sixth in the world at present and are top seeds at this event. Other VICTOR Stars who are top seeds are Chinese Taipei’s Lee Sheng Mu
／Tsai Chia Hsin
in the men’s doubles and the Korea s Kim So Yeong
／Jang Ye Na
in the women’s doubles. Both pairs have a bye in the first round and will proceed straight to the last 16.
In the men’s and women’s singles events, China’s “Super Dan,” Lin Dan, is hot favorite to take the men’s singles title, while Thailand’s Ponsana Boonsak and the Korea’s Son Wan Ho
are also fancied. Competition can be expected to be fierce in the women’s singles, with seven of the top ten players in the BWF world rankings, including Wang Shi Xian, Tai Tzu Ying
, Intanon, Bae Youn Ju
and Sung Ji Hyun
, all playing; each has the ability to take the title and this will make the women’s singles more exciting, and also more unpredictable.
One major highlight of this tournament is the appearance of four-time Badminton World Championships men’s singles winner Lin Dan of China who took to the court at last at the Grand Prix Gold in Changzhou last week after an eight month lay-off, taking the title with relative ease, and showing he is still a force to be reckoned with. Last year was his first appearance at the Badminton Asia Championships but he pulled out due to injury before the his quarter final match and handed victory to his teammate Du Peng Yu who went on to take the title. Lin will face the seventh seed in the first round India’s K. Srikanth.
Although the BWF announced on April 15 that the Korea’s popular Lee Yong Dae
、Kim Ki Jung
can continue to take part in various international tournaments, they will not play at the Badminton Asia Championships and will probably next appear at the top international competition, the Thomas Cup, in May.
Main VICTOR Stars in the first round
Son Wan Ho
 (Korea) vs. Avihingsanon Suppanyu (Thailand)
Chen Hung Lin
／Lu Chia Pin (Chinese Taipei) vs. Kim Dae Sun／Jun Bong Chan (Korea)
／Gutta Jwala (India) vs. Fu Ming Tian／Neo Yu Yan Vanessa (Singapore)