ALOR STAR: It was a big slap on the face for the Badminton World Federation (BWF) when mighty China withdrew all their players from the most lucrative tournament — the inaugural US$500,000 Super Series Masters Finals, which will be held in Kota Kinabalu from Dec 18-21.
China cited three reasons for turning their back on the Masters Finals:
·their players are tired after a long season;
·some players are nursing injuries; and
·they will be involved in a three-month training camp.
China will also not feature in the first two opening legs of the new Super Series season next month in Malaysia (Jan 6-11) and South Korea (Jan 13-18).
Their decision certainly dilutes the competitive edge in all the five events — especially the men’s singles.
The players who will miss the season finale of the Super Series are Beijing Olympic Games champion Lin Dan (pic) and All-England winner Chen Jin (men’s singles); women singles players Lu Lan and Zhu Lin (women’s singles); men’s doubles pair of Fu Haifeng-Cai Yun (men’s doubles); women’s doubles players Du Jing-Yu Yang and Zhao Yunlei-Cheng Shu (women’s doubles); and He Hanbin-Yu Yang and Xie Zhongbo-Zhang Yawen (mixed doubles).
Their withdrawals, however, is good news for two Malaysians.