Friday 28 April 2017
Defending Men’s Singles champion Chen Long has fallen short of automatic qualification for the TOTAL BWF World Championships 2017 but Scotland’s top players were celebrating when the BWF’s qualifying Race to Glasgow came to an end yesterday.
A total of nine Scots across all five disciplines are set to receive invitations to the most prestigious event in world badminton, to be held at Glasgow’s Emirates Arena from 21-27 August 2017.
But Chen Long, the two-time World champion from China is ranked No.9 in the BWF World Rankings of Thursday 27 April – the ranking date that determines the eligibility of players for the World Championships. A member association (MA) can field four players if they are ranked in the top 8, three players if they are ranked in the top 24, or two if they are ranked in the top 150. China has three players above Chen in the latest rankings – Shi Yuqi (No.5), Tian Houwei (No.7) and Lin Dan (No.8). Chen is short of the No.8 ranking by 1,404 points.
However, the choice of entries is up to the respective MA and Chen can secure his place if he is chosen by the Chinese Badminton Association over one of his three higher-ranked compatriots.
Member associations have to confirm by Thursday 11 May whether or not its eligible players will enter under Phase-I. The deadline for confirmation of entries in the second and final phase is Thursday 25 May.
Scottish fans can look forward to cheering on two players in the men’s singles, with Kieran Merrilees and Matthew Carder both qualifying. Malaysia’s World No. 1 Lee Chong Wei heads the list of Men’s Singles qualifiers with 81,703 points - 9,889 points ahead of No.2, Viktor Axelsen of Denmark.
Like China, Denmark have three qualifiers in the top 24 – Axelsen, Jan O Jorgensen (No.3) and Hans-Kristian Solberg Vittinghus (No.20). India and Hong Kong also have three qualifiers each – Ajay Jayaram (No.13), Kidambi Srikanth (No.22) and recent OUE Singapore Open champion Sai Praneeth (No.23) for India and Ng Ka Long (No.10), Wong Wing Ki (No.11) and Hu Yun (No.14) for Hong Kong.
Ygor Coelho de Oliveira (No.56, Brazil), Jacob Maliekal (No.108, South Africa) and Pit Seng Low (No.178, Australia) are the highest-ranked representatives from Pan Am, Africa and Oceania respectively. Each of the five continental confederations is entitled representation.
Home hope Kirsty Gilmour will fly the flag for Scotland in Women’s Singles, where Chinese Taipei’s Tai Tzu Ying heads the list of qualifiers with 93,721 points, 13,007 points over nearest rival and defending champion Carolina Marin (Spain).
China, Japan and Thailand have three qualifiers each. China will be represented by Sun Yu (No.6), He Bingjiao (No.7) and World Junior champion Chen Yufei (No.12), while Japan will bank on Akane Yamaguchi (No.5), Nozomi Okuhara (No.9) and Aya Ohori (No.15). Thailand’s flag will be carried by Ratchanok Intanon (No.10), Busanan Ongbamrungphan (No.13) and Nitchaon Jindapol (No.16).
Canada’s Michelle Li (No.56), Kate Foo Kune of Mauritius (No.77) and Australia’s Hsuan-Yu Wendy Chen (No.89) are the highest-ranked qualifiers from Pan Am, Africa and Oceania respectively.
Indonesia’s in-form combination Marcus Fernaldi Gideon and Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo, winners of three World Superseries events this season, are top-ranked among the Men’s Doubles qualifiers with 80,531 points, 6,433 points over the second-ranked Li Junhui/Liu Yuchen of China. Denmark, China, Japan, Chinese Taipei and Indonesia will be able to field three pairs each as they have qualified in the top 24.
Martin Campbell and Patrick MacHugh are the only Scots to qualify in Men’s Doubles with Matthew Chau/Sawan Serasinghe (No.53, Australia); Toby Ng/Adrian Liu (No.92, Canada) and Aatish Lubah/Georges Julien Paul (No.104, Mauritius) are the highest-ranked qualifiers from Oceania, Pan Am and Africa respectively.
Scotland will have two pairs in Women’s Doubles in the form of Rebekka Findlay and Caitlin Pringle, and Julie MacPherson and Eleanor O’Donnell.
No.1 pair Misaki Matsutomo and Ayaka Takahashi head the Japanese challenge. With two other pairs qualifying – Naoko Fukuman/Kurumi Yonao (No.7) and Shiho Tanaka/Koharu Yonemoto (No.8) – the Japanese have a strong line-up, but Malaysia Open champions Yuki Fukushima/Sayaka Hirota (No.14) miss out, ranking fourth among the Japanese.
China and Indonesia too have three pairs each. While China will look to Chen Qingchen/Jia Yifan (No.5); Luo Ying/Luo Yu (No.6) and Li Yinhui/Huang Dongping (No.9) to continue their glorious tradition in this category (China have won gold at every World Championships since 1997), Indonesia’s hopes will be carried by Anggia Shitta Awanda/Mahadewi Istirani Ni Ketut (No.15); Rosyita Eka Putri Sari/Della Destiara Haris (No.16) and Rizki Amelia Pradipta/Tiara Rosalia Nuraidah (No.20).
Denmark’s Olympic and World silver medallists, Christinna Pedersen/Kamilla Rytter Juhl, qualified second with 84,782 points followed by two Korean pairs, Chang Ye Na/Lee So Hee (78,324 points) and Jung Kyung Eun/Shin Seung Chan (75,424 points) respectively. Meanwhile, Setyana Mapasa/Gronya Somerville (No.24, Australia); Eva Lee/Paula Lynn Obanana (No.76, USA) and Hadia Hosny/Doha Hany (No.93, Egypt) are the highest-ranked qualifiers from Oceania, Pan Am and Africa respectively.
Campbell and MacPherson have also qualified in mixed doubles where Malaysia Open champions Zheng Siwei/Chen Qingchen are top-ranked with 88,371.6 points, just ahead of Chinese compatriots Lu Kai/Huang Yaqiong, winners of three Superseries this season. China have a third pair who have qualified – Zhang Nan/Li Yinhui (No.6).
The only other MA with three qualifiers is Indonesia, through Olympic champions Tontowi Ahmad/Liliyana Natsir (No.4); Praveen Jordan/Debby Susanto (No.8) and Ronald Ronald/Melati Daeva Oktavianti (No.22). Denmark’s Joachim Fischer Nielsen/Christinna Pedersen are Europe’s top-ranked qualifiers in fifth place (67,674 points).
Sawan Serasinghe/Setyana Mapasa (No.47, Australia); Toby Ng/Rachel Honderich (No.60, Canada) and Ahmed Salah/Menna Eltanany (No.72, Egypt) are the highest-ranked qualifiers from Oceania, Pan Am and Africa respectively.
Apart from the qualifiers by ranking and continental representation, a place is allocated to the host MA for an optional wild card in each category if it does not have a player qualified by ranking. BWF too is entitled to nominate a wild card in each category. The host MA has to decide by Wednesday 3 May whether or not to use its wild-card option, while BWF will decide on its wild cards by Friday 5 May.
The TOTAL BWF World Championships 2017 will be held at Emirates Arena, Glasgow, from 21 to 27 August, buy tickets today.