Host of China's star shuttlers will miss S'pore Open

They are badminton's world superpower and command a sizeable following wherever they go for competitions.

The likes of China's Lin Dan have enthralled fans with their on-court quality.

But the Chinese squad coming here for the OUE Singapore Open this April will be low on star power.

Reigning Olympic women's singles champion Li Xuerui headlines the 32-strong squad, along with world No. 2 Wang Yihan.

But two-time Olympic men's champion Lin Dan and current world No. 2 Chen Long will be missing.

Many fans will remember that the duo had signed up for the Badminton World Federation SuperSeries tournament here last year, only to pull out later.

Indonesia's Tommy Sugiarto went on to lift the men's singles crown last year.

QUALITY STILL HIGH

However, Singapore Open organising chairman Ng Yoke Weng believes the quality of the Chinese squad is still high despite the notable absentees.

He said: "It is still a strong team from China, with the likes of Olympic champion Li Xuerui and also the defending champion Wang Yihan.

"I believe that they will continue to pose a lot of challenges to players from other countries."

China's Cai Yun, one half the men's doubles pair who won gold at the 2012 London Olympics, will be here although he will not reprise his winning partnership with Fu Haifeng, but will instead pair up with Lu Kai.

World No. 7 Du Pengyu will be the top draw among the Chinese in the men's singles, with the likes of world No. 28 Chen Yuekun, Tian Houwei (33) and Gao Huan (43) relative unknowns.

Also, reigning Olympic women's doubles gold medallists Tian Qing and Zhao Yunlei will not be back to defend their title.

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