SINGAPORE - After a two-year, coronavirus-enforced hiatus, the Singapore Badminton Open (SBO) will return from July 12 to 17.
As Covid-19 restrictions ease, the US$370,000 (S$515,000) competition will be among the first world-class sports events at the Singapore Indoor Stadium to welcome a capacity crowd since the pandemic started.
It will be a Super 500 event, which is on the fourth tier of the Badminton World Federation (BWF) World Tour circuit.
Fans can expect a star-studded field in Singapore with the tournament coming on the back of the June 28 to July 3 Malaysia Open and the July 5 to 10 Malaysia Masters.
It is also one of the final opportunities for shuttlers to fine tune their preparations for the July 28 to Aug 8 Commonwealth Games, which means the likes of top Malaysian players such as world No. 6 Lee Zii Jia and Indian stars such as two-time Olympic medallist and 2019 world champion P. V. Sindhu will be at Kallang.
The Singapore contingent will also be out in full force, with world champion Loh Kean Yew and 2021 BWF World Tour Finals qualifier Yeo Jia Min expected to feature.
World No. 10 Loh, whose best result in this event was a second-round appearance in 2018, said: "There is nothing more satisfying than doing well in front of your home crowd. I hope I can give local fans something to cheer about."
This year, local IT firm JK Technology, a long-time supporter of Singapore badminton, has come on board as the tournament's presenting sponsor.
Singapore Badminton Association president Lawrence Leow said: "We are truly grateful to (JK Technology managing director) Eugene Ang for stepping forward to support us when businesses have been hard hit for the past two years... (and) seeing the value in what a global event like the SBO brings to not just fans and Singapore but also to businesses.
"The SBO marks a significant step in the road to normalcy for sports events. We will work closely with our event organisers and the authorities to ensure that the SBO is both a safe and an enjoyable event for large groups of fans to experience. After two years of start-stop events, sports is finally, truly back."