Nail-biting draw ceremony for BWF Destination Dubai World Superseries Finals delivers tension, excitement – and some surprises
Only the eight top-ranked players from each category of the BWF Destination Dubai Rankings earned a place at this prestigious tournament in Dubai, which sees them compete for a share of a US$1million prize pool – and there were some surprises in the draw which left no doubt that the following four days would be ones to watch.
The round-robin stage caused some disappointment; as players who might have hoped to clash later in the tournament found themselves together at this early stage.
Korean player Lee Yong Dae and his partner Yoo Yeon Seong were one such duo, unluckily finding themselves drawn in the same group as their team-mates, Ko Sung Hyun and Shin Baek Choel, who bested them in Copenhagen in August.
Japan’s Kenichi Tago, on finding himself drawn alongside hard-hitters Chen Long of China, Son Wan Ho of Korea, and Hans-Kristian Vittinghus of Denmark in Group A, joked that he would prefer to be in Group B.
Former Men’s Singles No.1 Peter Gade of Denmark called Men’s Singles Group A the “group of death”, with Chen Long visibly bracing as Son Wan Ho’s name was called; the Korean beat him twice this year in the Asian Games team event and in the Hong Kong Open final.
In Women’s Singles, China Open champion Saina Nehwal hinted she was lucky to have avoided Wang Yihan in her group.
“I prefer playing Shixian to Yihan, since it has been tough for me against Yihan. But Wang Shixian too is a difficult player and it might be a long match.”
BWF Secretary General Thomas Lund announced the BWF Destination Dubai World Superseries Finals was all set for its historic staging in Dubai.
“I can tell you it’s an amazing feeling for many of us involved in the planning and execution of this tournament,” said Lund.
“The significance of this occasion – to have the very best players in the world showcase their skills in Dubai – cannot be underestimated,” he added.
The previous evening, players had gathered at a gala reception to recognise the BWF Players of the Year.
China took both the Male and Female Player of the Year Awards, with World Champion Chen Long winning the Male Player of the Year, and dual World and Olympic champion in the Mixed Doubles and Women’s Doubles Zhao Yunlei taking the Female Player of the Year. Japan’s rising star and two-time World Junior Champion Akane Yamaguchi won the Most Promising Player of the Year Award for the second consecutive year.
The BWF Destination Dubai World Superseries Finals takes place at the Hamdan Sports Complex from 17-21 December