Wuhan: After winning two out of five gold medals offered at the Badminton Asia Championships (BAC) on Sunday, China has enough or in some categories, more than enough shuttlers to secure the maximum Olympic quota slots allocated for each country.
Unlike the previous Olympics, in the 2016 Rio Games, each nation could only enter a maximum of two players in the men’s and women’s singles events, if both players are ranked in the world’s top 16. Otherwise, those positions would be filled until the roster of thirty-eight players has been completed.
In the doubles category, each country could only enter a maximum of two pairs if both are ranked in the top eight, while the remaining countries are entitled to one until the quota of 16 highest-ranked pairs is filled.
Technically, China has 4 players that could qualify for the men’s singles event in Rio, with Chen Long being the World No. 1, followed by Lin Dan at World No. 3, Tian Houwei and Wang Zhengming at World No. 6 and World No. 13 respectively. However, it’s obvious that only Chen Long and Lin Dan would be selected to play in Rio.
Nevertheless, it’s going to be a tough call for women’s singles, with up to 5 shuttlers ranked in the World top 16. As rumors swirl, World No. 5 Wang Shixian could be dropped from the Chinese Olympic team yet again in favor of World No. 6 Wang Yihan who just won the BAC title on Sunday.
Chinese Chief coach Li Yongbo had replaced Wang Shixian once with young shuttler Li Xuerui in the 2012 London Olympic squad, and he may do it again after his decision proved correct when Li won the London Olympics gold medal.
“I have yet to decide who would go to Rio, I am going to take their world rankings, their ability to play against foreign players, and their performances in the last several tournaments into my consideration,” said Li Yongbo.
It’s much easier to decide outright who would go to Rio in men’s doubles because the current World No. 4 Fu Haifeng/Zhang Nan and World No. 5 pair Chai Biao/Hong Wei are the only options for China.
Former World No. 1 and current World No. 7 pair Luo Ying/Luo Yu sisters may be dropped from the Chinese Olympic team as World No. 3 Tang Yuanting/Yu Yang and World No. 4 Tian Qing/Zhao Yunlei are viewed as the pairs are most likely to win the women’s doubles gold medals at the Rio Olympics.
China also has some difficult roster decisions to make in the mixed doubles before Olympic, when it has to pick two out of three pairs between World No. 1 Zhang Nan/Zhao Yunlei, World No. 4 Xu Chen/Ma Jin, and World No. 6 Liu Cheng/Bao Yixin.
“We have succeeded to get the maximum berth in each categories for the Rio Olympics, and I really appreciate our players’ hard works,” said Li.
Although China is the only country in the world to successfully fill the maximum positions allocated to each country, Chinese players are overall weaker than they were four years ago at the London Olympics, and gold medals in every categories are up for grabs.