All eyes will be on flagship meet to seal Olympic spots

  • Badminton
  • Wednesday, 10 Jun 2020

Tokyo in sight: Ong Yew Sin-Teo Ee Yi are among the Malaysian shuttlers still in contention to qualify for next year’s Olympics.

PETALING JAYA: The Asian Badminton Championships (ABC) will be a thrilling affair when it returns next year from April 27 to May 2.

After all, the flagship tournament will again be the D-Day for Olympic hopefuls, especially those making a last-ditch attempt to qualify for the postponed Tokyo Games, which has been rescheduled to July 23-Aug 8.

The ABC will be one of the last few tournaments offering Olympics points as it falls on week 24 – just before the qualifying period shuts on May 2.

This year’s edition, which was supposed to have been held in Manila from April 21-26, was supposed to be one of the major Olympic qualifiers, too, but it was called off.

The ABC will be crucial for several Malaysian shuttlers such as Rio Olympics silver medallists Goh V Shem-Tan Wee Kiong and Ong Yew Sin-Teo Ee Yi in the men’s doubles and mixed pairs Goh Soon Huat-Shevon Lai Jemie and Tan Kian Meng-Lai Pei Jing.

Their hopes of making the cut and secure the full representation of two tickets for the country are still alive after the Badminton World Federation (BWF) extended the initial one-year qualification period (May 1, 2019-April 30, 2020) by four months, starting next January.

However, these players will first have to produce good results in several qualifying tournaments before they head into the ABC.

The other crucial qualifiers are the German Open (March 9-14), Swiss Open (March 23-28), Indian Open (March 30-April 4), Malaysian Open (April 6-11) and Singapore Open (April 13-18).

Four years ago, it took women’s doubles pair Woon Khe Wei-Vivian Hoo until the ABC in Wuhan to secure their Olympics debut at the Rio Games.

Their successful bid also ensured Malaysia were represented in all five events at the Olympics for the first time in history.

Malaysia are expected to repeat the feat in Tokyo as there are at least a player or pair provisionally qualified at the moment.

They are Lee Zii Jia in the men’s singles, Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik (men’s doubles), Soniia Cheah (women’s singles), Chow Mei Kuan-Lee Meng Yean (women’s doubles) and Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying (mixed doubles).

The battle now is to earn a second berth in some of these categories.
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