World number one men’s singles player, Lee Chong Wei, and world number two men’s doubles player, Koo Kien Keat, both from Malaysia, arrived in Sydney yesterday.
This is the second visit for both players in Australia, who were here for the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games. It was a fond memory for the both of them, Lee, a double gold medalist, and Koo, a triple gold medalist at the event.
Adding to the big names in practice today, former world and Olympic champion, Taufik Hidayat of Indonesia, was enjoying a hit out with 2012 Yonex Australian Badminton Open runner up, Tien Minh Nguyen of Vietnam.
There is also a large Japanese contingent, with ten players coming to Australia for the first time. The young team will comprise of 2012 London Olympic women’s doubles silver medalist, Reika Kakiiwa, and world number one junior men’s singles player, Kento Momota.
Many of the badminton powerhouse countries, including China, Chinese Taipai, Korea, Indonesia and Thailand, have come with a young squad of impressive talent.
Being a post Olympic year, many of the experienced players have come into the tournament with new pairings, making it difficult, albeit interesting, to predict how they will progress through the draw.
Qualifying for all disciplines will commence tomorrow morning, with the first round of the men’s singles scheduled from 5.30pm tonight AEST.