KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia could only look with envy as Indonesia, China and Japan won it big in the Badminton World Federation (BWF)’s Player of the Year award ceremony in Guangzhou, China.
Indonesia’s all-conquering Marcus Fernaldi Gideon-Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo showed they were indeed the best men’s doubles pair of this era when they were voted again as the winners of the best Male Player of the Year award on Monday.
The duo took part in 11 tournaments on the World Tour this year and won eight of the nine finals.
“It’s a great honour to win this award for the second consecutive time. This will motivate us to keep working harder. We did well all through the season but I would say our highlight was winning the Asian Games gold medal (at home in Jakarta),” said Kevin in a press statement on the BWF website.
There was a surprise in the award for the best women’s player as China’s Huang Yaqiong was picked ahead of world No. 1 women’s singles Tai Tzu Ying of Taiwan and Japan’s doubles pairing of Yuki Fukushima-Sayaka Hirota.
Huang Yaqiong and her mixed doubles partner Zheng Siwei had a stellar season winning nine titles, including the world title and Asiad gold.
“I was nominated last year but I missed it. My highlight this year has to be the World Championships gold in Nanjing,” said Huang Yaqiong.
Malaysia’s Youth Olympic Games winner and world junior champion Goh Jin Wei was nominated in the Eddy Choong Most Promising Player category but the award went to China’s men’s doubles players Han Chengkai-Zhou Haodong.
Japan took the Most Improved Player award through their women’s doubles world champions Mayu Matsumoto-Wakana Nagahara.
The award ceremony is as a fitting curtain raiser to the World Tour Finals starting today where the world’s best will be out to prove themselves in the lucrative US$1.5mil (RM6.24mil) season-finale tournament.
ROLL OF HONOUR
Male Player of the Year: Marcus Fernaldi Gideon-Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo (men’s doubles, Indonesia)
Female Player of the Year: Huang Yaqiong (mixed doubles, China)
Eddy Choong Most Promising Player of the Year: Han ChengkaiZhou Haodong (men’s doubles, China)
Male Para-badminton Player of the Year: Jack Shephard (men’s singles, England)
Female Para-badminton Player of the Year: Leani Ratri Oktila (women’s singles, Indonesia)
Most Improved Player of the Year: Mayu Matsumoto-Wakana Nagahara (women’s doubles, Japan)