Striving to add another gold to their medal count, five veteran shuttlers are looking forward to more success in the coveted 102nd All-England Seniors Open Badminton Championships.
To be held at Hertfordshire University Sports Complex in Hatfield, England, from April 13 to 15, the tournament will see fewer participation this time as it clashes with the annual World Morning Cup in Taipei.
Some of the participants of last year’s All-England tournament, including Datuk Irwan Shah Abdul-lah who is fondly known as DJ Dave, have decided to take part in the Taipei tournament which is being played over one set of 31 points.
“If I play in the All-England Seniors, it will be a disadvantage for me, age-wise, because the age-eligibility rules still require me to play in the 65-69 age group as I had not reached 70 as of January this year.
“In the World Morning Cup, I am eligible to play in the 70-74 age group and the matches are stretched out over a few days,” DJ Dave said.
Meanwhile, seasoned campaigners Chan Wan Seong and Ong Then Lin are taking part in the Men’s Singles 60-64 age category and will partner each other in the Men’s Doubles 60-64 age category.
Then Lin will also be playing in the Mixed Doubles 60-64 age category, partnering a player from China.
They will be joined by another seasoned pair, Ong Sin Oong and his London-based Malaysian partner Eddy Ong Choo Poh, who will play in the Men’s Doubles 65-69 age category.
Eddy will also be playing in the Men’s Singles 65-69 age category event while Tan Boon Kiat will be making his debut in the Men’s Singles 55-59 age category.
Wan Seong said a few players opted out of the London tourney after their strenuous experience playing here in previous years.
“So, credit to Boon Kiat for having the courage to make his debut and test his skills and stamina against some of the strong players there.
“Many find it extremely demanding, having to play all matches in the respective events in one day,” he said.
In last year’s tournament, Wan Seong lost to Indonesia’s 1982 Thomas Cup player Arnold Dending to finish second in his group, thus derailing his progress to the knockout stage.
Last year, Then Lin won his group and his subsequent semi-final knockout match but had to give a walkover in the final to Dending due to cramps.
Dending also emerged as the silver medallist in last year’s BWF World Seniors Championships.
As the Men’s Double 60-65 age category pair, Wan Seong and Then Lin won the silver medal in the 2017 All-England Seniors and were champions in the 2017 World Masters Games and the 2016 Sawasdee Cup, while Eddy and Sin Oong finished as the Men’s Doubles 65-69 age category champions in the 2015 All-England Seniors and were the semi-finalists in the 2016 edition.
Wan Seong said he expects to face strong English and Danish pairs with Then Lin in the Men’s Doubles.
“In the Men’s Singles, Then Lin and I will likely be seeded to head the respective groups based on our tournament results in 2017.
“Then Lin being the younger and fitter player, would have a better chance of winning the Singles title,” he said.