BWF Player of the Year shortlists announced

Olympic medallists dominate the nominees for BWF Player of the Year, despite a lack of titles between them this year. Both Rio gold medallist Chen Long and para-badminton star Lee Sam […]

Olympic medallists dominate the nominees for Player of the Year, despite a lack of titles between them this year. Both Rio gold medallist Chen Long and star Lee Sam Seop have the chance to retain their titles, where the other fields will all see new or returning winners.

By Michael Burke, Badzine Correspondent. Photos: Badmintonphoto (archives).

The Badminton World Federation (BWF) has announced the shortlist for the Player of the Year awards, to be distributed at the end of season gala at the Dubai World on Monday, December12th.  It is definitely a year for rewarding quality over quantity, as many of the candidates have won very few titles.  They range from Nozomi Okuhara and Chen Long, with one each, all the way up to 19-year-old Chen Qingchen, who is vying for the Eddy Choong Most Promising Player on the strength of her ten Superseries and Grand Prix Gold titles.  After Chen comes France’s standing para-badminton star Lucas Mazur, who won nine titles in just three international outings this year.

Japan holds sway in the women’s shortlist with Misaki Matsutomo/Ayaka Takahashi and Nozomi Okuhara competing against  Christinna Pedersen / Kamilla Rytter Juhl of Denmark and Thailand’s Ratchanok Intanon for the honours.

In a year dominated by the Rio Olympics, the men’s list is headed by current Olympic champion Chen Long, looking to win the title for the third year running, but he is joined by veteran compatriots Fu Haifeng/Zhang Nan who also struck gold. The Olympic theme continues as three Malaysian silver medallists make the cut in Goh V Shem/Tan Wee Kiong and world #1 Lee Chong Wei, with the list rounded out by Jan Ø. Jorgensen of Denmark.

The Eddy Choong award for most promising player of the year has one clear favourite in Chen Qingchen, although Goh Jin Wei, He Bingjiao, Li Junhui/Liu Yuchen have all had impressive breakthrough years.  Chen and He were both nominated in 2015 as well, but lost out to Chen’s mixed partner Zheng Siwei.

Competing for female Para-Badminton Player of the Year are German Katrin Siebert, Turk Emine Seckin, Thai Amnouy Wetwithan and Karin Suter-Erath of Switzerland.  This is the only shortlist made up entirely of first-time nominees.

The Male Para-Badminton Player of the Year category sees inaugural winner Lee Sam Seop of Korea nominated again, joined by Frenchman Lucas Mazur, German Thomas Wandschneider and Bartlomiej Mroz of Poland.  Last year, Lee was the only wheelchair athlete nominated but this year, he, Wangschneider, and three of their four female counterparts are from the wheelchair divisions.

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