Badminton Life



Here Comes The Europe Circuit Finals

Although much of the sporting focus this year is going to concentrate on the Olympic Games, there are always other alternatives to keep badminton fans occupied throughout the year and the return of the Badminton Europe Circuit Finals has created another event for European badminton fans to get excited over.

The event will take place in the Netherlands on the 7th and 8th of June with all the action taking place on the one court where the intense and intimidating atmosphere of this scenario will help to create a unique and exciting arena for players to perform in. With three tournaments remaining for players to qualify, there is still a lot of jostling for position with only the top 4 ranked players in the singles category gaining entry to the Finals with the top 2 ranked pairs of the Doubles events also making it to the event.

With a prize fund of 500,000 US dollars and all the expenses being taken care of by the organisers, its clearly an event that is worth the time and effort of the players and with the Polish International, the Finnish International Championships and the Dutch International being the final opportunities to rack up some point to qualify, fans at these tournaments are bound to benefit from the increased pressure that has been placed on some of the players.

Two players who look certain to be heading for the Mens Singles event are German Marc Zweiebler and Czechoslovakian star Petr Koukal who hold a commanding lead over their rivals that should see them remain out in front. There is a group of 5 players closely ranked together who will be fighting it out for the last two remaining places with Ville Lang from Finland currently ranked as the best of the rest and showing the best form.

Lang hasn't been at his best for a while but a recent return to prominence and two tournament triumphs within a month has seen him come good at a very important time. Tucked in just behind Lang are Austria's Jurgen Koch, Erwin Kehlhoffner from France and Yuhan Tang from Belgium.

The ladies qualification is possibly even tighter with only Elizabeth Cann from England looking a certainty for qualification. The race to fill the other three places is extremely close with Olga Konon from Belarus, Kati Tolmoff from Estonia and Ragna Ingolfsdottir from Iceland having less than 300 tournaments point between their rankings which means that these ladies could swap positions at any point in the qualification process.

These three are being hotly pursued by players like Jill Pittard from England and Juliane Schenk from Germany who still harbour serious ambitions about catching the pack of three and booking their place in Holland in June.

The Doubles events look likely to be dominated by Russia with both the Mixed and Ladies Doubles events being led by players from this nation, which should lead to some exiting final match-ups. The Mens Doubles ranking is currently being led by the Belgian duo of Wouter Claes and Frederic Mawet but their lead is not so substantial that it could not be overturned by the May 5th deadline.

With so much to play for before the, the qualification process for this event looks sure to provide some intriguing and exciting matches of badminton.












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