The qualifying rounds of the US$15,000 Li-Ning New Zealand Badminton International get underway tomorrow (Wednesday) with a number of feature players and several nations aiming to have their competitors win through to the main draw of the tournament which starts the following day at the North Shore Events Centre.
Involved in qualifying which is being held from 10am at Badminton North Harbour is former New Zealand coach and national champs finalist, TJ Weistra(Waikato). Top Kiwi junior Asher Richardson(Canterbury), national women’s singles champion, Kylie Luo as well as competitors from nations such as Taiwan, Australia, South Africa, Japan, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Korea and the United States.
Overall there are 30 nations represented in the qualifying and main draws. Kiwi players to watch for in the main draw include Michelle Chan, the Kiwi No1, plus men’s singles players, Joe Wu and Invercargill’s James Eunson and several doubles and mixed combinations.
Yun Hu(Hong Kong) is the men’s top seed in the singles and is ranked at 17 in the world. Second seed is 32nd ranked Tommy Sugiarto of Indonesia with third seeding going to Malaysia’s Muhammad Hafiz Hasim at 33, a former All England Champion.
In the women’s draw Pui Yin Yip(Hong Kong) is currently No12 but has been as high as No8. Tsu Ying Tae(Taiwan) is second seed at No20 and Japan’s Sayaka sato is ranked at 25.
The men’s and women’s doubles as well as the mixed draws also have many impressive players from around the world include badminton strongholds, Korea, Malaysia, Indonesia, China, Taiwan and Indonesia as well as other nations such as Peru, Iran, Iraq and Norway.
The event main draw runs from Thursday until the finals on Sunday 3 April. It will move from being a US$15,000 event to being a US$50,000 tournament in 2012 which will also see it as a vital part of points for the London Olympics.