Some Rio decisions coming sooner, some later

Hong Kong daily The South China Morning Post (SCMP) reported today that Chen Jin and the Chinese coaches will wait until the ‘last moment’ to announce which of their qualified […]

Hong Kong daily The South China Morning Post (SCMP) reported today that Chen Jin and the Chinese coaches will wait until the ‘last moment’ to announce which of their qualified shuttlers they will choose to represent the badminton superpower at the Rio Olympics.  Four years ago, China was one of the few countries that selected a lower-ranked shuttler within their national quota when they chose then world #4 Li Xuerui instead of #3 Wang Shixian to accompany #1 Wang Yihan and #2 Wang Xin to London.  Li Xuerui won that event, of course, but this time, China has been limited to two representatives in each of the five disciplines.  Again it is women’s singles where competition is the stiffest, with three shuttlers in the top ten and an additional two lower in the top sixteen all with a shot at being chosen.

In each of the other four disciplines, China has three players from whom they can choose two to fill their maximum quota. Chen Jin told the SCMP that with the deadline set by the BWF for July 18th, the Chinese coaches would ‘definitely wait until that last month’ to make their decision.  The Badminton Korea Association, which has a similar option, already announced on its website a list of qualified athletes showing the higher-ranked Kim/Kim and excluding Ko/Shin in men’s doubles but the announcement does not acknowledge that the Koreans could choose to send the 2014 World Champions instead.  Denmark and Japan are among those who can choose two from among three or more but countless others who have earned a quota of one athlete could, in theory, elect to send someone other than their highest ranked player or pair.

One decision that will have to be made earlier lies with Badminton Australia.  In every discipline but women’s doubles, Australians have tentatively qualified as the top player or pair from Oceania but from among these four, Australia must choose no more than two and their deadline to do that is May 31st.  Matthew Chau / Sawan Serasinghe and Robin Middleton / Leanne Choo are the only Oceanian candidates in men’s and mixed doubles respectively, while Australia had the top four Oceanian men’s singles players and the top five from the continent in women’s singles so theoretically, they could choose any one or two of these nine shuttlers.

If Australia does not use its continental quota in either of the singles disciplines, the highest-ranked New Zealand player would theoretically get next dibs; however, in 2012, Oceania was not represented in men’s singles at all and the spot was re-allocated higher up the ranking list.  In light of New Zealand’s notorious reluctance to accept invitations for low-ranked shuttlers, this could become an opportunity for Oceania Championship runner-up Remi Rossi of Tahiti, who is the highest-ranked Oceanian not from Australia or New Zealand.

If Australia chooses not to send a doubles pair, this would result in an invitation to Issara/Puangpuapech in men’s doubles or to Durkin/Vislova in mixed.  In the latter case, it would result in a double ticket for Bodin Issara and this would free up an additional men’s singles slot.

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 @