Badminton Life

Top Players Miss Out on Indonesian Open

Indonesian players are among the best in the world with a population who is crazy about badminton. Its flagship tournament, the Indonesian Open, is also one of the most prestigious on the calendar.

However, this year, the tournament is missing many of the world's leading players, who are more focused on doing well at the Olympic Games in Beijing this August.

The tournament, which finishes on June 22 and is being played at the Bung Karno sports hall in central Jakarta, would have drawn a top field in any other year.

However, the draw is very much lighted with the absence of world number one Lin Dan, of China, and Malaysia's second-ranked Lee Chong Wei in the men's singles.

Lin had stated a while back that he would not play in Jakarta while Lee's withdrawal was as a result of his victory at last week's Singapore Open.

His coach said that if Lee had been knocked out early in Singapore he would have played in Indonesia. But because he went all the way to the final and won it, the player had gained enough real match-practice and would skip Jakarta.

Also missing from the field is the South Korean duo of Asian champion Park Sung-hwan, the world number nine, and eighth-ranked Lee Hyun-il.

China's world number one Xie Xingfang has pulled out of the women's competition, which will also see a diluted field.

Mimi Irawan, head of tournaments of the Badminton Association of Indonesia, was quoted in the Jakarta Post as saying the tournament will still produce some top-quality match-ups.

"Despite their absence, I hope that the event will not lose its charm because some good players will still take part in the competition," said Mimi.

China's world number two Bao Chunlai and Denmark's Peter Gade are expected to compete in Indonesia and will be among the favourites, while the local challenge will come from defending Olympic champion Taufik Hidayat and Sony Dwi Kuncoro.

In the women's singles, Indonesian Maria Kristin Yulianti will be among the favourites and her aim is to at least make it to the semi-finals.

Association chairman Sutiyoso said the tournament was the last chance for Indonesian players to gear up for the Olympics.

"I hope that our players can learn something about the strengths of their would-be opponents in the Games through this event," he said.

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