Post-Olympic lull not so calm

The first four post-Olympic tournaments all feature sizeable numbers of Olympians, with the Japan Open featuring an unexpectedly star-studded field, for an event that starts exactly one month after the […]

The first four post-Olympic tournaments all feature sizeable numbers of Olympians, with the featuring an unexpectedly star-studded field, for an event that starts exactly one month after the last medals are awarded in Rio.  In fact, all but one of the Rio doubles finalists and 7 of the 8 singles semi-finalists appear on the initial entry lists for both the Japan and Korea Opens.

Photos: Badmintonphoto

It is a far cry from four years ago.  In the post-London period, the got back underway with extremely weak fields, with the China Masters that year attracting only one top ten men’s doubles pair and none of the top 20 women’s doubles pairs who had competed in London.  This year’s Japan Open will feature the entire men’s singles top 10, minus Lin Dan,  and women’s singles, minus Sung Ji Hyun and Wang Yihan, and Sung will be back the following week for the .  Whether it is retirements or just voluntary breaks, a few more absences, together with partnership changes, will limit the doubles participation more, but still all three events promise to start with at least half the top ten.

Of course, the above figures relate only to the first version of the entry lists.  Players who seemed to be fighting injury in their last matches in Rio, such as Li Xuerui (pictured) or Saina Nehwal, may yet withdraw, as might other players who decide later that they need a break.  Moreover, while certain players have hinted at post-Rio retirements, very little can be intuited simply from the decisions made before the about a tournament that is to happen afterward.

China and Korea – Absences, shuffles, and retirements

China and Korea account for the only top 10 singles players who will not be in attendance in Tokyo.  Furthermore, most of the two nations’ top two doubles pairs in each discipline are either absent or reallocated.  Only Chai/Hong in men’s doubles and Ko/Kim in mixed are on the lists.  Meanwhile, Kim Ki Jung is paired with Ko Sung Hyun for the first time, and Lee So Hee and Shin Seung Chan (pictured below) are back together for the trip to Japan, where they won their second World Junior Championship, four years ago.  However, Jang Ye Na and Jung Kyung Eun will be back with Lee and Shin respectively for the Korea Open.

The same day as the Korea Open entry lists were released, the retirements of four veteran players were announced, but Bae Yeon Ju and Lee/Yoo are still entered, with the latter having already said they’d like to make this their final tournament.  China is bringing in several new doubles partnerships but the only one involving Olympians is Tang Yuanting reprising the highly successful partnership she tried with teenager Chen Qingchen (pictured bottom) at the Uber Cup Finals.  Also back for China are 2015 Singapore Open champions Ou Dongni / Yu Xiaohan, who have played only the China Masters so far this year.  Chinese Taipei also appears to be redistributing, with Lee Sheng Mu and Tsai Chia Hsin both playing with new partners.

China and Korea will send large teams, including many players who were unable to qualify for Rio.  For China, that means top ten players Tian Houwei and Wang Shixian, while in Korea’s case, even the ageless Lee Hyun Il will be making a rare Superseries appearance.  Speaking of ageless, many of the eldest players on the tour have signalled their intention to get back on court at the next Superseries.  Boe/Mogensen are expected in Tokyo, as are Christinna Pedersen and both of her veteran partners from Denmark.

A month is too long

Some Rio competitors seem to have found they cannot wait the month until the Superseries resumes and have decided to jump right back into the circuit.  The Indonesian Masters Gold is long on talent, while a little short on Olympic talent, but they still have reigning World Champions Ahsan/Setiawan in the men’s doubles list and All England winners Jordan/Susanto in the mixed.

In fact, the previous week’s Brazil Grand Prix, which starts just ten days after the men’s singles gold medal match, has even more holdovers from the Rio Olympic Games in its draws.  In addition to Brazil’s two Olympians Lohaynny Vicente and Ygor Coelho de Oliveira, Misha Zilberman of Israel will be staying on, as will Germany’s Michael Fuchs, along with Manu Attri, Sumeeth Reddy, and Jwala Gutta of India.

You can use the following links to download the entry lists for the Brazil Open, the Indonesian Masters, the Japan Open, and the Korea Open.


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 @