Badminton: Singapore Open in April to proceed; Asian stars Tai Tzu-ying, Ratchanok Intanon confirm attendance

Tai Tzu Ying of Bengaluru Raptors hits a return to Michelle Li (not pictured) of North Eastern Warriors during their women's singles final match in Hyderabad, on Feb 9, 2020.
Tai Tzu Ying of Bengaluru Raptors hits a return to Michelle Li (not pictured) of North Eastern Warriors during their women's singles final match in Hyderabad, on Feb 9, 2020.PHOTO: AFP

SINGAPORE - For all her achievements, which include 147 weeks as world No. 1, an Asian Games gold and the 2018 All England title, Tai Tzu-ying knows her resume lacks the glint of silverware from the World Championships and Olympic Games.

No wonder the second-ranked Taiwanese is determined to end that barren run at this year's Summer Games in Japan.She will return to defend her Singapore Open crown and use the April 7-12 tournament as part of her preparation for her Olympic bid.

Tai, 25, said: "I want to win in Tokyo. I have been working hard and training relentlessly for it. Every tournament including Singapore Badminton Open needs to be looked at as a fresh challenge.

"I have to always give my 100 percent and not take any match lightly. For me, my fitness is very important and if I am fit and in a positive mind state, I can win any game."

She and compatriot Chou Tien-chen, the men's world No. 2, have confirmed their participation at the Singapore Indoor Stadium. Chou captured the Singapore Open title in 2018.

Organised by the Singapore Badminton Association, the US$408,000 (S$566,181) Singapore Open is part of the BWF World Tour and is a Super 500 (Level 4) event. It is also the last stop in the qualifying window for this year's Olympics and as such, is seen as a key event for the top shuttlers to challenge for points and a ticket to Tokyo 2020.

Reigning women's champion Carolina Marin of Spain and former world champion Thai Ratchanok Intanon will feature in the Republic while Rio 2016 men's singles gold medallist Chen Long headlines a list of 42 Chinese players, including women's world No. 1 Chen Yufeim, bound for Singapore.

While the coronavirus outbreak has led to numerous high profile sporting events in Singapore being postponed or cancelled - the Feb 27-Mar 1 HSBC Women's World Championship golf tournament has been dropped - Singapore Open organisers remain optimistic.

Organising chairman Robert Lim said: "It is our full intention to stage the Singapore Badminton Open in April and preparations for it are on track. The health and well-being of our players, spectators and event personnel remain our absolute priority.

 
 

"We will continue to monitor the situation in Singapore closely and pay heed to official announcements from the relevant authorities."

Early bird tickets for the Singapore Open are available till Feb 16 through APACTix. For more information, visit singaporebadmintonopen.com.sg.