KUALA LUMPUR, Jan. 15 (Xinhua) — The Proton Malaysia Open Badminton Super Series 2008 (Malaysia Open) kicked off here on Tuesday as players from 30 countries and regions started their performances in the qualifying matches to vie for the titles or rankings. The Malaysia Open this year bore extra significance as some top shuttlers might seek the opportunity to seize an entry ticket to the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, which will take place in Beijing this August. Thus fiercer rivals are expected to be seen in the Malaysia Open this year.
In the men's singles, China is sending almost all of its top players, including Bao Chunlai, Chen Yu, Chen Jin and Chen Hong who are expected to meet Malaysian top player Lee Chong Wei, Indonesians Taufik Hidayat and Sony Dwi Kuncoro as well as Kenneth Jonassen from Denmark.
In the women's singles, Chinese prominent shuttlers Xie Xingfang, Zhang Ning and Zhu Lin will be present, while in the women's doubles, China is sending top pairs Yang Wei/Zhang Jiewen.
In other events, a strong presence of Chinese players are expected to be seen, but all of these top Chinese shuttlers or pairs will skip the qualifying matches on Tuesday and show up on Wednesday.
The semifinals and finals will be held on Saturday and Sunday.