A record 18 nations will be represented at the US$50,000 Grand Prix badminton event to be held later this month on the North Shore.
The 28 July – 1 August tournament to be held at the North Shore Events Centre has managed to secure entrants from badminton strongholds Hong Kong, Japan, Indonesia, Malaysia, India and England along with other nations such as Czech Republic, United States, Wales, Scotland and Mexico. But it’s the numbers of entrants and the quality of them which stands out.
The men’s singles is the strongest event with 60 entries including Yan Kit Chan from Hong Kong will head the field with a current ranking of No9 in the world, having been a quarter-finalist at the Korean and Malaysian Super-series tournaments earlier this year. Indonesia’s Andre Kuriawan Tedjano at No18 was also a quarterfinalist at the Korean and Malaysian Super-series tournaments 2009.
The 2006 and 2008 winner of the New Zealand Open, Tseun Seng Lee at No21 from Malaysia returns to defend his title. Another familiar player is England’s Andrew Smith, currently ranked 29.
There are 10 players in the men’s singles ranked in the top 50 in the world. Jo Wu at 160th is New Zealand’s top player in singles. Waikato’s Bjorn Seguin has won four domestic tournaments this year and will try and test himself against top international competition.
The highest ranked player confirmed in the women’s singles is Hong Kong’s Pui Yin Yip at 22 followed by Magumi Taruno(Japan) at 29. There are five top 50 ranked women in the singles. The best
ranked New Zealander is Michelle Chan at 75. In total there are 43 entrants.
Twenty four pairs are in the men’s doubles with Indian’s Rupesh Kumar and Sanave Thomas, ranked 19.
The women’s doubles has 23 pairs entered and is headed by Hong Kong team Tsz Chan and Ying Tse while the mixed doubles has the 11th best team in the world, Yohan Wiratam and Hoi Wha Chou from Hong Kong. New Zealand’s top pairing of Henry Tam and Donna Cranston are at 58th.
Of note is that multiple Commonwealth Games medalist and world champ bronze medalist, Dan Shirley will team with fellow Commonwealth Games player Rachel Hindley in the mixed while Shirley will reunited with his former doubles partner John Gordon in the men’s doubles. The pair were previously ranked in the top-10 in the world.