The world’s top badminton players are set to invade the Philippines this coming June when the Philippine Open Gold Grand Prix Championships returns after a year’s break from the scene.
Philippine Badminton Association (PBA) chief and former First Lady Amelita “Ming” Ramos said the world’s bests due to visit the Philippines include top players from Malaysia, Indonesia, China, Korea, Vietnam, and England.
“This is a big event since players who will succeed here will get the needed points to qualify into the next Olympics,” said Ramos.
The Philippine Open, supported mainly by Bingo Bonanza, is a “Gold series” tournament which gives the highest Olympic “points,” second only to the bigger “Super Series”.
"The difference between the Super Series and the Gold Series is the prize money. The higher the prize money, the higher the points, the higher the tournament. So we are the second in line," said Bingo Bonanza president Albee Benitez.
Expected to defend their titles are Malaysians Lee Chong Wei (Philippine Open 2007 Men’s Singles champion), and partners Koo Kien Keat and Tan Boon Heong (Men’s Doubles).
Other title defenders are Indonesian world champions Liyana Natsir and Nova Widianto (Mixed Doubles), China’s Zhou Mi
(Women’s Singles), and partners Chien Yun Chin and Chen Wen Hsing (Women’s Doubles).
Leading the Philippines are siblings Kennevic and Kenny Asuncion and other members of the Badminton National Team.
A total of $120,000 worth of prizes will be given away in the tournament, which will run from July 1 to 5 at the Philippine Sports Multi-Purpose Arena in Pasig City.
The annual tournament took a break in 2008 to give way for the Beijing Olympics, where most of the top shuttlers competed.