Badminton Life

Japan Open Feels Olympic Sting

Next month's Japan Open Super Series event is normally one of the most popular tournaments in the world.

However, for this year, it has lost a bit of its lustre, occurring so soon after the Olympic Games.

With many of the world's top singles players resting after the intensity of playing at the Beijing Games, the Japan Open is likely to feature a thin field when it starts on September 16.

According to reports, the men's singles competition will be the hardest hit with no players from China, Malaysia or South Korea yet to register.

Denmark will be represented by Olympian Peter Gade while Indonesia will send their top players.

However, Olympic champion Lin Dan and his compatriots Chen Jin and Bao Chunlai are unlikely to take part.

Although the Malaysians have yet to register, Olympic men's singles silver medallist Lee Chong Wei has already indicated that he will play in the event.

If so, he is likely to grab the top seeding and will be favourite to win.

Lee is already reported to have said that he wants to curtail the many post-silver medal functions that are being held in his honour in Malaysia in order to prepare for the Japan Open.

The women's singles may have seven of the world's top 10 taking part, but the draw will still be missing the Olympic gold and silver medallists, both from China.

Zhang Ning, who successfully defended her title in Beijing and world number one and Olympic runner-up Xie Xingfang have yet to sign up for the event.

World number five Pi Hongyan is also missing, although China will be represented by Olympic bronze medallist Lu Lan and her compatriot Zhu Lin.

The doubles events, however, are likely to provide more star quality with all the Olympic champions expected to compete, though, at the same time, many other Olympians will be missing.

The South Korean pairing of Lee Yong-dae and Lee Hyo-jung will compete for honours in the mixed doubles tournament, though there are some indications that they may not play.

The women's doubles Olympic winners from China and the triumphant Indonesian men's doubles team are also expected to play in Japan.

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