Neither groom to get Dubai dowry

Recently married shuttler Chen Long joins Wong Wing Ki in having to watch someone else cash in at the lucrative Superseries Finals in Dubai after the 11th-hour qualifier backed out […]

Recently married shuttler Chen Long joins Wong Wing Ki in having to watch someone else cash in at the lucrative in Dubai after the 11th-hour qualifier backed out before playing a single rally.

Photo: Luis Veniegra / Badmintonphoto (archives)

Wong Wing Ki of Hong Kong and China’s Chen Long were among the small group of shuttlers fighting over the very last ticket to the Finals in Dubai.  Wong Wing Ki went into his home event ranked inside the top 8 but Chen completed a late-season surge that ousted Wong from the list of qualifiers and he made the trip back to the UAE, where he had won the title in 2014.

For both men, the last two events on the regular tour of the Superseries were crammed into their schedule around their nuptials, in each case to former elite badminton-playing team-mates.  Wong married Chan Tsz Ka in early November while Chen wedded former world #1 Wang Shixian even more recently.  It turns out that Chen, too, will be able to focus on family now that he has withdrawn from the Superseries Finals with a knee .

Injuries have been a standard feature of the Superseries Finals ever since the Badminton World Federation () started forcing qualified players to attend, under threat of fine.  rules insist that even injured players fly to Dubai and participate in press events and participants who qualify have their accommodation and airfare covered for them.

Injury problems are particularly noticeable at the Superseries Finals for two reasons.  One is that with an invitation-only event, there are never reserve players who can be promoted to the draw.  When players withdraw from a normal Superseries as Chen did – a day before play starts – there is always a local player or other reserve player to fill in.  In Dubai, the only one who could qualify for such a role is the Superseries #9 player, who is likely to be thousands of miles away at the time.  The other factor is the round robin tournament format.  This means that one injury early in the tournament can result in the cancellation of as many as three matches.

In the first two years of the Superseries Finals, only players who wanted to play accepted invitations and there was not a single retirement or walkover once the players had arrived on site.  The abbreviated or forfeited matches began in the 2010, which lost 8 of the 30 total preliminary matches and the worst year was 2014, when fully one third of all preliminary matches were cancelled or not completed.  There has only been one occasion since 2011 when the round robin stage was injury-free and that just happened to be followed by a semi-final walkover.

Lee Chong Wei and Ng Ka Long got men’s singles Group A underway without Chen Long.  Lee beat Ng in straight games and Son Wan Ho will enter the fray on Thursday.


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 @