Badminton: Big names to play at OUE Singapore Open

Ratchanok Intanon, who topped the world rankings after her triumph at the Indoor Stadium last year, said: "I'm definitely going all out to defend my title."
Ratchanok Intanon, who topped the world rankings after her triumph at the Indoor Stadium last year, said: "I'm definitely going all out to defend my title."PHOTO: THE NATION

Thai defending champion keen to atone for Rio exit, while Spaniard seeks better Open result this year

Two of badminton's biggest names will light up the Singapore Indoor Stadium at the OUE Singapore Open in April.

Reigning Olympic champion Carolina Marin of Spain and Thailand's Ratchanok Intanon yesterday confirmed their attendance for the April 11-16 event, which has a prize purse of US$350,000 ($496,000).

Ratchanok is the defending women's singles champion. She will be joined by male counterpart Sony Dwi Kuncoro of Indonesia.

Sony, who started as a qualifier last year, ousted Chinese great Lin Dan en route to claiming his second Singapore Open crown.

It was his first Superseries title in six years. His last was also at the Singapore Open - back in 2010.

Ratchanok, ranked fifth in the world, said: "I'm definitely going all out to defend my title. The fans at the Singapore Indoor Stadium were amazing last year and I loved the atmosphere.

"I hope they can come and support me this April."

The Thai star is coming back from a disappointing Olympic campaign. She was a contender for the gold medal in Rio but instead fell in the round of 16.

That said, the 22-year-old could find solace here. After all, the Indoor Stadium was where she sealed the world No. 1 spot for the first time. This, after beating China's Sun Yu in the final.

The win also saw her become the first woman to win three Superseries titles in as many weeks. She had won the India and Malaysia Opens in the preceding weeks.

Marin, meanwhile, will be hoping to better her top-eight finish at last year's Singapore Open.

Eugene Ang, organising chairman of the event, said he is hopeful of a good turnout.

More stars, including players from badminton powerhouse China, could yet join the fray, with registration for the Singapore Open only closing on Feb 28.

Said Ang: "With both Sony and Ratchanok back to defend their titles and the presence of Olympic champion Carolina, we are confident of a good spectator turnout for the event.

"We are expecting more top players to submit their entries."

•Early bird tickets are on sale at www.sportshubtix.sg

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 08, 2017, with the headline 'Marin, Ratchanok to boost open appeal'. Print Edition | Subscribe