China to leave All England champ at home?

All England champion and Superseries leader Lu Kai has not yet been named to China’s 2017 Sudirman Cup squad, a day before the team nomination deadline. In what is certainly […]

All England champion and Superseries leader Lu Kai has not yet been named to China’s 2017 squad, a day before the nomination deadline.

In what is certainly a mix-up by the China Badminton Association (CBA), the Chinese team has included former international singles player Liu Kai (刘凯) but has left off the similarly Romanized name of current world #2 Lu Kai (鲁恺).  Lu’s partner Huang Yaqiong has been named, sure enough, but Chinese officials would appear to have little more than 24 hours to correct the mistake.

It is true that on paper such a mistake should not worry the Chinese terribly, given that they will still be able to fall back on the world #1 mixed pair Zheng Siwei / Chen Qingchen, as well as the new #4, two-time Olympic champion Zhang Nan and new partner Li Yinhui.  However, it is Lu and Huang who have 4 titles this year and just two losses, both of which they incurred in major tournament finals.  With women’s singles and doubles shuttlers being less internationally competitive than ever in recent memory, China will certainly be looking to put its absolute best foot forward in this key discipline.

As for Liu Kai himself, he is a singles player who hasn’t been seen in international competition since the 2014 Badminton Asia Championships, when he beat Kento Momota – a month before the youngster starred in Japan’s Thomas Cup victory – en route to the semi-finals.  Since then, Liu has not competed outside of China and he was on the roster for the Benxi Zhihui in the 2015-2016 China Super Badminton League but not for the league’s latest edition.

The exclusion of Lu Kai was certainly unintentional but it is also quite apparent that the CBA has intended all along to revise the Sudirman Cup player nominations before the May 5th deadline.  Badminton World Federation rules state that each member association can nominate no more than 20 players and China is one of two countries that have gone over the limit having nominated a whopping 30 players.  The other is Korea, which has sent 12-16 players in each of the last 4 editions of the Cup.  China usually names the maximum 20 to its Sudirman squad.

It is also worth noting that similarly minor-looking clerical errors have had major impacts on tournament outcomes.  Most noteworthy may be the accidental inclusion of Yang Wei and Zhang Jiewen in the draw for the 2007 World Championships, which the Chinese pair ended up winning.  More recently, we can point to the slip up by Badminton Denmark that prevented world #2 Boe/Mogensen from competing at the Malaysia Open this year and the accidental entry of 3-time Pan Am champions Liu/Ng in two events in 2015, causing their disqualification from the Pan Am Games and possibly playing a key role in their failure to qualify for Rio.

Photos: Badmintonphoto and Don Hearn


Don Hearn

About Don Hearn

Don Hearn is an Editor and Correspondent who hails from a badminton-loving town in rural Canada. He joined the Badzine team in 2006 to provide coverage of the Korean badminton scene and is committed to helping Badzine to promote badminton to the place it deserves as a global sport. Contact him at: don @