China rope in young stars for title defence


PETALING JAYA: Young stars Chen Long and Wang Yihan have earned places in a 24-member strong Chinese squad to defend the Sudirman Cup in Guangzhou next month.

Chen Long, the 2007 world junior champion, who reached the semi-finals of the India Open and finished runners-up to compatriot Bao Chunlai in the Asian Championships in South Korea last week, will join Olympic champion Lin Dan, Chen Jin and Bao Chunlai in the men’s singles cast.

Yihan, who emerged as the champion in three consecutive Open tournaments in Europe (German, All-England and Swiss), was picked ahead of reigning world champion Zhu Lin even though she holds a lower world ranking.

It was the second big disappointment for Zhu Lin. She was also not selected to play in the Beijing Olympics last August even though she had qualified on merit.

Yihan is joined on the women’s singles list by Xie Xingfang, Lu Lan and Wang Lin.

The women’s doubles list also threw a surprise when the young pair of Cheng Shu-Zhao Yunlei, who reached the world No. 2 spot after wining four of their last 10 tournaments, were left out of the team.

The lower ranked Tian Qing-Pan Pan were picked together with Olympic champions Du Jing-Yu Yang and Zhang Yawen-Zhao Tingting.

THE CHINA SQUAD

Men’s singles: Lin Dan, Chen Jin, Bao Chunlai, Chen Long.

Women’s singles: Xie Xingfang, Lu Lan, Wang Yihan, Wang Lin.

Men’s doubles: Cai Yun-Fu Haifeng, Guo Zhendong-Xu Chen, Shen Ye-Chai Biao.

Women’s doubles: Du Jing-Yu Yang, Zhang Yawen-Zhao Tingting, Tian Qing-Pan Pan.

Mixed doubles: He Hanbin, Xie Zhongbo, Zheng Bo-Ma Lin.

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