With just over a year until the London 2012 Olympics, several of the worlds elite are fighting for a place to represent their country. Qualification for the Olympics is just underway and with three major events in June, players have be able to perform well in order to have a chance of making London 2012.
Chen Long, Chen Jin and Wang Zhengming are all fighting for a place to represent China in the men’s singles and are all seeded this week. Top seeded Chen Long starts against Thailand’s Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk whilst hometown favourite and 2nd seeded Boonsak Ponsana takes on Lu Yi of China. Joachim Persson and Viktor Axelsen are the big names from Denmark and will also being battling against one another to make the Danish team for the Olympics. Their fortunes are mixed though, with Axelsen taking on 16th seeded Wong Choong Hann of Malaysia whilst Persson awaits a qualifier in his opening round.
Top seeded Saina Nehwal’s draw couldn’t have been any harder this week, taking on the 2009 world champion Lu Lan in the opening round before she can think about the seeds on her half of the draw. Wang Lin and Pi Hongyan are in the top half of the draw but are both unseeded only to add to the level of difficulty in progressing from the top half of the draw. Jiang Yanjiao is playing this week knowing that with Wang Lin’s return to competitive play, her spot in London is far from concrete but the bottom half of the draw is considerably weaker than the top, with Yao Jie providing the only non-seeded threat in the bottom half of the draw.
The super-competitive Korean pairs are all in action this week in the men’s doubles, with the top 2 seeds being from Korea. Lee and Jung are the top seeds this week and face a qualifier in the opening round as do the second seeded Ko and Yoo. 6th seeded Cho and Kwon are the third Korean seed this week, whilst a 4th pairing of Kim and Shin are unseeded this week. Denmark also have three pairs playing this week, all of which are unseeded but after Boe and Mogensen’s terrible form at the Sudirman last month, Danish badminton might need some new talent in the men’s doubles.
A surprisingly weak women’s doubles gives Thailand hope of a title this week, with Tian and Zhao being the only big name Chinese pair in the draw this week, seeded 5th. The 6th seeded Ha and Kim will be a partnership to watch as well as the 7th seeded Chinese duo of Cheng and Yixin. The mixed doubles will be the best chance of local success this week, with the top 2 seeds both coming from the host nation. The dangerous pairing of Xu and Ma are also playing this week and are seeded 5th, whilst Lee Yong Dae pairs up with Ha Jung Eun after winning a group match in the Sudirman Cup last month.