Birmingham: Badminton fans have plenty to look forward to as the 2016 All England will kick off its 117th edition on Tuesday.
The Yonex All England Championships moved into the Barclaycard Arena only two days after the World Group 1st Round of Davis Cup ended on Sunday.
Badminton’s men’s singles stars including Malaysia’s Lee Chong Wei, China’s Lin Dan and Chen Long, and top ranked women’s singles shuttlers such as Carolina Marin, Saina Nehwal, Wang Yihan, Wang Shixian, Li Xuerui are all in attendance.
This year’s All England will feature Lee Chong Wei, Chen Long and Lin Dan for the first time since 2012. As the race to qualify for the Rio Olympics intensified, the trio will be doing their utmost to earn precious Olympic qualification points at this prestigious tournament.
Although Lee Chong Wei and Chen Long’s Olympic qualifications are pretty much nailed, but Lin Dan still needs to stay ahead of compatriot Tian Houwei to keep his aspirations of a third straight Olympic gold later this year intact.
Lin’s win at the German Open on Sunday was his opening event of 2016 as he bids to win a hat-trick of Olympic singles’ titles, the 32-year-old having hinted that the Rio Games could be his final event before retirement.
In women’s singles, World champion Carolina Marin of Spain will sure try to become the first European to retain the All-England title in the recent history of badminton.
While World No. 2 and last year’s runner-up, women’s singles player Saina Nehwal has been affected by ankle injury she suffered during last year’s Dubai World Super Series Finals, Nehwal will be the women’s singles player to watch out for at All England.
The 2012 Olympic champion Li Xuerui who clinched the German Open last Sunday, has been seeded third. Li together with her compatriots Wang Yihan, Wang Shixian will offer China its best hope of usurping Marin’s current dominance.