Badminton: Olympic mixed doubles champs Tontowi and Liliyana among entrants for Singapore Open

Tontowi Ahmad (right) and Liliyana Natsir of Indonesia during their mixed doubles final match against China at the 2018 Badminton Asia Championships in Wuhan, central China's Hubei province, on April 29, 2018.
Tontowi Ahmad (right) and Liliyana Natsir of Indonesia during their mixed doubles final match against China at the 2018 Badminton Asia Championships in Wuhan, central China's Hubei province, on April 29, 2018.PHOTO: AFP

SINGAPORE - A strong group of shuttlers from Indonesia, Thailand and Chinese Taipei have confirmed their entry in the July 17-22 Singapore Badminton Open.

The field is led by reigning Olympic mixed doubles champions Tontowi Ahmad and Liliyana Natsir, who are among 37 shuttlers from Indonesia who will participate in the tournament.

Tontowi, 30, and Liliyana, 32, will be on the hunt for their fourth gold medal at the Singapore Open, following wins in 2011, 2013 and 2014.

Among Thailand's entrants, 2016 Singapore Open women's singles champion Ratchanok Intanon will be looking to reclaim the title, which was won by Taiwanese Tai Tzu-ying last year.

"Coming into any tournament as a previous champion is always a challenge, but I will do my very best to reclaim my title," said the 23-year-old Ratchanok, who in 2016 became the first Thai shuttler to earn a world No. 1 ranking, and is currently ranked fourth.

"The fans in Singapore really come out in full force. Their support definitely plays a part, and I hope to receive the same amount of support this time around as well."

While Tai will not be defending her title this year, world No.6 player Chou Tien is among the 25 shuttlers Chinese Taipei has registered for the Singapore Open.

The 28-year-old Chou will look to build upon his respectable showing over tournaments this year, having secured the gold at the German Open and silver at the India Open.

He will be joined by his compatriot Wang Chi-lin, who won the men's doubles and mixed doubles categories at the New Zealand Open earlier this month.

Wang and partner Cheng Hung-ling are currently the eighth-ranked men's doubles pair in the world. He and mixed doubles partner Lee Chia-hsin are ranked 14th in the world in the mixed doubles. Cheng and Lee will also be present at the Singapore Open.

Singapore Open organising chairman Eugene Ang said: "Having shuttlers like Ratchanok Intanon, Tontowi Ahmad and Liliyana Natsir at this year's event will certainly draw the crowds.

"Their presence bodes well for the tournament. Players have until June 5 to register their participation and we are expecting more names to come."

Tickets for the Singapore Open are available via Sports Hub Tix and APACTix.