Badminton: Fans in for a treat at Indoor Stadium next month

Badminton: Fans in for a treat at Indoor Stadium next month

Earlier in the week, China's men's world No. 1 Chen Long and women's world No. 3 Wang Yihan were confirmed for Singapore's biggest badminton tournament.

As the world's best continued to limber up for the All-England Championships in Birmingham, more big names were unveiled yesterday for this year's OUE Singapore Open, with the last two men's singles champions returning to fight for the Republic's biggest badminton prize at the Indoor Stadium from April 7 to 12.

Defending men's champion Simon Santoso and Tommy Sugiarto, the 2013 winner, were named in the Indonesia squad, while the 27-strong Thailand team will feature women's world No. 8 Ratchanok Intanon and two-time Singapore Open men's singles champion Boonsak Ponsana.

Malaysia will be led by top men's singles players Chong Wei Feng and Daren Liew.

Hosts Singapore will be led by 2014 Commonwealth Games men's singles silver-medallist Derek Wong and women's doubles pair Vanessa Neo and Shinta Mulia Sari.

Their experience will be vital to young shuttlers Terry Hee, Elaine Chua and Tan Wei Han, who were recently promoted from the National Youth Team. Many in the field will use the tournament as a test event for the South-east Asia (SEA) Games, which will be held here from June 5 to 16.

Badminton at the SEA Games will also be held at the Indoor Stadium.

Singapore Badminton Association president Lee Yi Shyan is confident that the Singapore Open will be a good test for the Singapore contingent ahead of the SEA Games.

"Our renewed squad comprise both experienced shuttlers and new blood," said Lee, also the Senior Minister of State for the Ministry of Trade and Industry and Ministry of National Development. "They are a team in transition but have worked hard to challenge their own standards against the best they have played against."

For Santoso, who became the first qualifier to win the men's singles title in the history of the Singapore Open last year, the tournament is a "good opportunity" to prepare himself for the SEA Games.

Ratchanok, who became the youngest women's singles world champion in 2013, wants to do well at the Singapore Open and the SEA Games.

Said the 20-year-old: "The Singapore Open will provide me with a great platform to match up against the very best players from not just South-east Asia, but also all around the world."

This article was first published on March 4, 2015.
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