Badminton Life

Late Draw Sustains Tension for Asian Championships

Players gunning for glory at the Asian Badminton Championships (ABC) in Johor Bahru will go into the tournament almost blind, according to local media reports.

Organisers of the April 15-20 tournament in the southern Malaysian city have decided that the draw will only be conducted on the eve of the tournament, giving players little time to prepare their game to combat their opponents.

The draw will be held after the manager's meeting on April 14. Although the tournament is not a Super Series event, it is the last chance for Asian players to win Olympic qualifying points.

Karen Koh, chief operating officer of the Badminton Asia Confederation, said it was decided to delay the draw to enhance the tension ahead of the tournament.

In addition, they want to avoid having to make re-draws in case players pull out at the last minute.

She was quoted in Malaysian media as saying: "Sometimes, re-draws have to be done because the seeded players withdraw at the eleventh hour. This time, the draw will only be done after the team managers have confirmed their players' entries.

"We are trying this out for the first time in a BAC tournament after the executive council gave us the nod. We also asked the hosts - the BAM (Badminton Association of Malaysia) - and they agreed, saying it was a good idea.

"The draw will be conducted during the team managers' meeting and everyone will get to see how it is done. This will leave no room for people to question the validity of the draw."

She added that the draw format may become a normal procedure for all Super Series events on the Badminton World Federation's calendar if the Johor Bahru test proves successful.

This year's ABC has attracted some top players, including favourite and world number two Lee Chong Wei, of Malaysia, who is also the defending champion.

Many players are using the event as their last chance to stake a claim for a place in the Olympics.

"The world's best will be coming to Malaysia to compete in this meet. We are determining the seedings of the players based on the latest world rankings," said Koh.

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