PETALING JAYA: Malaysia will have the smallest representation in the Super Series Masters Finals but all eyes will be on China over whether they would snub the Badminton World Federation’s (BWF) season finale for a third consecutive time.
The Hong Kong Open, which ended yesterday, marked the end of a 12-leg series this season.
The top eight ranked in singles and doubles with each country limited to two entries in each event qualify for the US$500,000 Masters Finals, which will be held in Taiwan from Jan 5-9.
Malaysia will only have Lee Chong Wei and Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong in the fray – the smallest number of representatives since the Finals was introduced in 2008.
In the previous two editions, Malaysia also had representatives in the women’s singles and doubles events.
Defending champion Wong Mew Choo failed to make it while the 2008 champions Chin Eei Hui-Wong Pei Tty did not pick up enough points to qualify due to injuries to the latter.
From the qualifiers’ list, China will not have three-time world champion Lin Dan in the men’s singles but they will still have the biggest contingent for the lucrative event with interest in all five events.
However, it is unsure whether China will make the trip to Taipeh even though the BWF are offering world ranking points for the first time.
In the past, China came up with different excuses for turning their backs on the BWF’s premier event.
It will also be interesting to find out whether the BWF will mete out any form of punishment on China if they snub the Finals again.
In the last two Super Series tournaments, China’s stars created uneasiness among the world badminton fraternity by making last-minute withdrawals.
At the China Open in Shanghai, Lin Dan conceded a walkover to Chen Jin in the quarter-finals. And in the just concluded Hong Kong Open, both Lin Dan and Chen Jin also conceded walkovers to their quarter-final opponents.
For Lin Dan, the back-to-back episodes showed that he had no interest at all in making a late surge to qualify for the Masters Finals. He would have made the cut if he had won both the China and Hong Kong Opens.