Badminton Life

Asian Olympic Race Nears the Finish

A lot of attention and focus has been placed on the European players who are aiming to qualify to take part in this years Olympic Games but the same sort of fevered anticipation has been occurring all over the world and none more so than in Asia.

Given that Asia is a renowned hotbed for badminton and the fact that the 2008 Olympic Games are being held in China has meant that all eyes are on the closing tournaments for challengers to rack up enough points to earn their place.

Qualification has been open for an entire year with events from the World Championships to the International Challenges and the Thomas and Uber Cups all offering points for players.? However, no matter how long players have been able to earn points, there is always a last minute dash to beat your rivals and this year has proved no exception. The final Asian event where players can boost their rankings is the Badminton Asia Confederation Championship, that is being held in Malaysia between the 15th and 20th of April.

A large number of the 172 Asian participants who will play in the badminton events have already booked their place but there are still a small number of places up for grabs and it is this that is placing an extra edge on the forthcoming Championship. Even with that, many of the players who have already guaranteed their place at the Olympics will be looking to rise up the rankings and improve their seeding, which could be vital when the real acting begins.

Those who have their places assured and are comfortable with the ranking they have are likely to not participate in the forth-coming event to concentrate their preparation for the Thomas or Uber Cup as well as the Olympic Games so this lack of the highest ranked players gives a further incentive for the middle ranked players to take part. The chance to win a trophy is always going to interest a sports star which should ensure a high level of competition at the forthcoming event.

The tournament itself will be hosted in the Malaysian city of Johor Bahru for the third consecutive year and the event has definitely found a home in the area. To ensure that every player receives a fair chance at gaining points in the event, the Badminton Association of Malaysia have announced a qualifying round for the tournament which will pit player of an equal ranking up against each other so as to give the lesser ranked players an equal opportunity to improve their standings. This may be seen as a bold move but it is one that will increase the tension for all concerned.

And if at the end of the day, the chance of Olympic qualification is not within reach of a player, there is also the prize money to aim for and with a grand total of US $125,000 up for grabs in the tournament; there is enough motivation for everyone concerned.

All of these factors look set to make the Badminton Asia Confederation Championship one of the most highly anticipated badminton events on the calendar.

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