Badminton: More stars to light up Singapore Open

Mohammad Ahsan (left) and Hendra Setiawan play against Sheng Mu Lee and Chia Hsin Tsai during their men's doubles match at the Badminton Asia Team Championships.
Mohammad Ahsan (left) and Hendra Setiawan play against Sheng Mu Lee and Chia Hsin Tsai during their men's doubles match at the Badminton Asia Team Championships.PHOTO: AFP

The OUE Singapore Open is set for another infusion of badminton star power.

Indonesia will send a 31-strong contingent - matching that of arch-rivals China - for the April 12-17 event. The South-east Asian powerhouse will be led by world No. 1 women's doubles pair Greysia Polii and Nitya Krishinda Maheswari and second-ranked men's doubles duo Hendra Setiawan and Mohammad Ahsan.

Defending men's doubles champions Ricky Karanda Suwardi and Angga Pratama, ranked 10th in the world, will also return.

Another past winner who has confirmed his appearance at the OCBC Arena is two-time men's singles champion Boonsak Ponsana. The popular Thai will be joined by compatriot and 2013 world champion Ratchanok Intanon, who has never progressed beyond the quarter-finals in three previous attempts here (2011, 2014, 2015).

She said: "I'm targeting to make it, at least, into the quarter-finals. Although I am confident in qualifying for the Olympics, it is important to me that I do my best in every competition I enter, and that I learn from each experience."

World No. 7 Ratchanok and world No. 1 Carolina Marin of Spain will be joined by 2012 Olympic bronze medallist and world No. 2 Saina Nehwal of India in the stellar women's singles field.

Double Olympic champion Lin Dan and men's world No. 1 Chen Long are part of the Chinese juggernaut using the Singapore Open as their final tune-up before the Olympic Games in August. The Open is the last Superseries event before the Rio Games and players will be looking to earn precious qualifying points to earn a spot in Brazil.

Among those trying to make it to Rio are former world No. 1 doubles pair Tan Boon Heong and Koo Kien Keat of Malaysia. They resumed their partnership last May and are trying to overtake compatriots Tan Wee Kiong and Goh V Shem in the rankings.

Said Tan: "Every qualifying point towards the Rio Olympics matters to us right now. We will definitely go all out for the Singapore Open. We hope that our supporters will be there to cheer us on."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 18, 2016, with the headline 'More stars to light up Singapore Open'. Print Edition | Subscribe