Dubai: Chen Long and Zhao Yunlei of China won the 2014 best men’s and women’s player awards on Monday.
2014 is a year of mixed results for world number two Chen Long. He failed to deliver for China at the Thomas Cup Finals in May. Playing at No.1, he lost to Kenichi Tago as China crashed out 0-3 to Japan in the semi-finals. Chen Long also lost to Son Wan-ho in the men’s singles final of the Hong Kong Open in November as well as in the Incheon Asian Games team event final. Chen, however, won the Korea Open early this year and won his first world championships title in August, he also finished runner-up at All England and India Open.
“I’m very happy to win this award,” said Chen Long. “It’s teamwork, I wouldn’t have won the award without the Chinese badminton team, thank you to them.”
Zhao Yunlei who was in contention for the best women’s player award with compatriots Li Xuerui, Wang Shixian and Wang Yihan and Denmark’s Christinna Pedersen has had an exceptional season, winning three Superseries titles with Tian Qing in Women’s Doubles and four titles with Zhang Nan in mixed doubles. Zhao was thrilled with the award.
“It’s wonderful! I’ve working very hard for many years, this award definitely gives me extra motivation in my future tournaments,” said Zhao.
Meanwhile, the soft-spoken Akane Yamaguchi from Japan walked away with most Promising Player of the Year for the second time in a row. Yamaguchi defended her World Junior Championships title in April this year, together with 2014 Asian Junior Badminton Championships title. She finished runner-up in the China Open Superseries, and has become a steadily rising star on the senior level tournaments.
The other contenders in the Promising Player of the Year category were China’s Lin Gui Pu, Chen Qingchen and He Bing Jiao, and Indonesia’s Rosyita Eka Putri Sari.