Badminton Life

Finnish Event Before the European Championships Start

With the European Championships so close, many top players traveled to Helsinki to take part in the 2008 Finnish International Badminton Championship to fine tune their game and get some last minute preparation in before the major tournament.

In addition to seeing some key players working out at a high level, the local badminton fans will be keeping a close eye on Anu Niemenen who is the fourth seed for the Women's Singles event and is the biggest hope that the host nation has of producing a winner. The prize money for the event totals US$15,000 which means that there is a strong cash element to motivate players as well as the potential to build morale before the major event.

The strength of the Finnish event is borne out by the fact that six of the eight seeds for the Men's Singles competition are also included in the seeding for the forthcoming European Championships so there can be no concerns about a lack of quality for the Finnish event. However, not all of the seeds have been having an easy life and a few have already tasted defeat with one of the biggest shocks being the early dismissal of local star, Ville Lang.

Lang has been in scintillating form of late with two recent title triumphs to his name but he disappointingly fell very early on in front of his home crowd. Other top seeds who were beaten in their first round matches were Marc Zweibler and Petr Koukal which has left the two Canadians, Andrew Dabeka and Bobby Milroy as the players most likely to succeed in the Men's Singles event.

As already mentioned, a lot of attention in the Women's Singles event is focused on Anu Niemenen and she got off to a fine start with a straight set triumph over Sweden's Emelie Lennartsson which greatly pleased the crowd and set up an intriguing match against the talented Japanese star, Yu Wakita, who herself had over Elena Prus from the Ukraine in her first round math.

Whilst there have been players who have been keen to use this tournament as a warm-up for the European Championships, there have also been a few who are seeking to use the Finnish International to prove that their exclusion from the European Championships represents a mistake on behalf of their respective selectors.

One such duo is Tim Dettmann and Sebastian Schoettler who were omitted from the German squad for the European Championships and there is no doubt that the duo will be keen to prove their doubters wrong and given that they have been listed as the top seeds for this event, they will have every chance. To triumph in this event, it is likely the German duo will need to defeat the Belgian team of Wouter Claes and Frederic Mawet who are ranked as the second seeds but will also be appearing at the forthcoming European Championships.

Claes has also been performing at a consistently high level of late and is also taking part in the Mixed Doubles where he and Nathalie Descamps are ranked as the top seeds. With so many top notch badminton tournaments taking place one after the other, it can be hard to keep up with who is playing where but the Finnish International Championships have a quality roster with plenty to play for which is sure to appeal to the fans who turn up to see it.

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