Badminton Life

Top European Field for Strasbourg Masters

Some of Europe's leading players will be battling it out for glory at the revived Strasbourg Masters, which will be held in early December.

The tournament took a break last year because of a tight schedule in which most of the world's top players were starting their year-long countdown to the recently concluded Olympic Games in Beijing.

This year, European champion Kenneth Jonassen, of Denmark, will be the player to beat. The world number five has confirmed his entry in the event, where his strongest opposition is likely to come from Dutch defending champion Dicky Palyama and German number one Mark Zwiebler.

Host country France will be looking for new blood to carry the flag after the retirement of Erwin Kehlhoffner. Their hopes now lie with national champion Brice Leverdez, who will nevertheless face some tough competition.

France, though, is likely to fair much better in the women's singles in the form of Pi Hongyan.

She is ranked number five in the world and will be among the favourites to lift the title. However, she is likely to face a strong challenge from European champion Xu Huaiwen.

The two players will probably be seeded to meet in the final, which should provide spectators with some of the most thrilling badminton of the weekend.

The men's doubles also promises to be exciting and competitive with the German pair of Hopp and Kindervater, bronze medallists in the European championships, leading the way.

Austria's veteran player Juergen Koch is also likely to bring his vast wealth of experience to the courts to who the fans that he still packs a powerful punch.

The tournament is being held in partnership with the Alsace league. Organisers are also working together with another big club in France - Club de 3 frontieres, which hosted the 2008 French national championships.

Because of this association, badminton was able to break into new regions in the country and win over a whole new set of fans.

Indeed, Village Neuf will be hosting the first stage of the competition at the Club des Trois Frontieres.

The tournament will be held from December 2-4 and is expected to attract thousands of fans from the region.

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