The biggest event on the Asian badminton calendar set for the off Ko Sung Hyun／Kim Ha Na look to retain their title
Held last year in Taipei, this year the host city of the Badminton Asia Championships is Kimcheon. With the Asian Games set to be held in Inchon, South Korea in September this year, the results at this tournament will be indicative of which players can be expected to shine at the Games. The best players of the Korea team will be playing at the Championships, seeking to keep the titles at home for fans. Top seeded Ko Sung Hyun／Kim Ha Na will be attempting to retain their mixed doubles title, and China’s Lin Dan, fresh from winning the title at the Grand Prix Gold in Changzhou last week after returning from injury, will also play.
Ko Sung Hyun／Kim Ha Na
Last year’s Championships saw Ko Sung Hyun／Kim Ha Na playing together for the first time in a tournament and, to the surprise of many, they didn’t just make it all the way to the final they also beat Olympic gold medalists Zhang Nan／Zhao You Lei in the final. Ko／Kim rank sixth in the world at present and are top seeds at this event. Other VICTOR Stars who are top seeds are Chinese Taipei’s Lee Sheng Mu／Tsai Chia Hsin in the men’s doubles and the Korea s Kim So Yeong／Jang Ye Na in the women’s doubles. Both pairs have a bye in the first round and will proceed straight to the last 16.
In the men’s and women’s singles events, China’s “Super Dan,” Lin Dan, is hot favorite to take the men’s singles title, while Thailand’s Ponsana Boonsak and the Korea’s Son Wan Ho are also fancied. Competition can be expected to be fierce in the women’s singles, with seven of the top ten players in the BWF world rankings, including Wang Shi Xian, Tai Tzu Ying, Intanon, Bae Youn Ju and Sung Ji Hyun, all playing; each has the ability to take the title and this will make the women’s singles more exciting, and also more unpredictable.
One major highlight of this tournament is the appearance of four-time Badminton World Championships men’s singles winner Lin Dan of China who took to the court at last at the Grand Prix Gold in Changzhou last week after an eight month lay-off, taking the title with relative ease, and showing he is still a force to be reckoned with. Last year was his first appearance at the Badminton Asia Championships but he pulled out due to injury before the his quarter final match and handed victory to his teammate Du Peng Yu who went on to take the title. Lin will face the seventh seed in the first round India’s K. Srikanth.
Although the BWF announced on April 15 that the Korea’s popular Lee Yong Dae、Kim Ki Jung can continue to take part in various international tournaments, they will not play at the Badminton Asia Championships and will probably next appear at the top international competition, the Thomas Cup, in May.
Main VICTOR Stars in the first round
Lee Dong Guen (Korea) vs. Liu Guo Lun (Malaysia)
Chou Tien Cheng (Chinese Taipei) vs. Pham Cao Cuong [Q] (Vietnam)
Son Wan Ho  (Korea) vs. Avihingsanon Suppanyu (Thailand)
Pai Hsiao Ma (Chinese Taipei) vs. Yang Li Lian (Malaysia)
Bae Youn Ju  (Korea) vs. Liang Xiaoyu (Singapore)
Tai Tzu Ying (Chinese Taipei) vs. Hui Xirui (China)
Sung Ji Hyun  (Korea) vs. Jindapon Nichaon (Thailand)
Chen Hung Lin／Lu Chia Pin (Chinese Taipei) vs. Kim Dae Sun／Jun Bong Chan (Korea)
Yoo Yeon Seong／Shin Baek Choel (KOREA) vs. BYE
Ashwini Ponnappa／Gutta Jwala (India) vs. Fu Ming Tian／Neo Yu Yan Vanessa (Singapore)
Chen Hung Lin／Cheng Wen Hsing (Chinese Taipei) vs. Jongjit Maneepong／Taerattanachai Sapsiree (Thailand)
Yoo Yeon Seong／Eom Hye Won (Korea) vs. Tan Aik Quan／Lai Pei Jing (Malaysia)