SINGAPORE - China's top male shuttlers Lin Dan and Chen Long will be among a 35-strong contingent that will compete at the April 9-14 Singapore Badminton Open, organisers announced on Thursday (Feb 14).
World No. 4 Chen Long is the reigning Olympic champion after his triumph in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.
Lin Dan, a two-time Olympic gold medallist and five-time world champion, is eyeing a first Singapore Open title and hopes a good showing at the Singapore Indoor Stadium will boost his chances of qualifying for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
The 35-year-old world No. 12 suffered a shock defeat by Singapore's Loh Kean Yew - then ranked 125th - in the final of the Thailand Masters in Bangkok last month.
"I have registered for quite a number of tournaments this year including the Singapore Open," said the Chinese legend. "I'm hoping to earn as many points as possible, to improve my ranking. I hope to get mentally prepared before the Olympic qualification period commences."
Of Lin's participation and a possible rematch, 21-year-old Loh said: "It's great that the Singapore Open is attracting so many big names.
"It will be good exposure for us local players to have them here, and it is up to us to fight and make it to the main draw.
"I know a lot of people are looking forward to the possible rematch, but it'll really depend on the draw... and I am focused on improving my game and mental strength. I will treat every game as a new game."
Lin's compatriot Li Xuerui also believes the Singapore Open can provide a platform for recovery.
The women's 2012 Olympic champion suffered a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury in 2016 which sidelined her for over 600 days, and is now looking to earn a ticket to Tokyo.
"It's been a long time since I last competed in Singapore and I'm using this to improve my ranking ahead of the Olympic qualifying period," said Li. "Qualifying for the Olympics is definitely my target now. I'm building up my stamina and pace, getting ready for the upcoming tournaments when the qualifying period starts."
Li will face a tough challenge in her bid for the women's crown at the Singapore Open, with 2016 tournament winner and 2013 world champion Ratchanok Intanon of Thailand and reigning Commonwealth Games champion Saina Nehwal of India among the field.
Other top names that have confirmed participation for the Singapore Open include 2016 Olympics mixed doubles silver medallists Goh Liu Ying and Chan Peng Soon of Malaysia, and their compatriots Goh V Shem and Tan Wee Kiong, the 2014 Commonwealth Games men's doubles champions.
Indonesia are also sending a strong contingent, with reigning men's doubles winners Hendra Setiawan and Mohammad Ahsan looking to complete a hat-trick of wins.
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