World Superseries Finals offer Chinese badminton players one final slam in Dubai

There is nothing short about Chen Long’s badminton game as World Superseries Final in Dubai will serve as the season finale, reports Paul Radley.
China’s Chen Long is the top-ranked badminton men’s singles player in the world and is hoping to build on his 2012 title in Dubai. Courtesy photo
China’s Chen Long is the top-ranked badminton men’s singles player in the world and is hoping to build on his 2012 title in Dubai. Courtesy photo

DUBAI // The race was supposed to have ended here about a month ago.

So the billboards around the golf course at the DP World Tour Championship proclaimed back in mid-November, anyway.

It turns out another world sport, with the sort of participation figures that golf would crave, has its end-of-season terminus in Dubai, too.

Instead of driving a small ball around a field, the participants will be hitting a feathered shuttle over a net on court temporarily converted over a swimming pool.

Maybe the participants of badminton’s World Superseries Finals are not quite so immediately recognisable beyond east Asia as the likes of Rory McIlroy and Henrik Stenson.

The winners will be well-remunerated by the end of the weekend, though. There is a prize fund of $1 million (Dh3.67m) set to be divided among the winners on Sunday.

Expect the Chinese entrants to feature prominently. Eleven of the 30 winners of World Superseries finals since the event started in 2007 have been from China.

The top seeds in both the men’s singles competition – Chen Long – and women’s singles – Wang Shixian – are from there.

“This is the highlight of the series, so I will try my best to win,” said Long, who is badminton’s reigning world champion.

“This really is the peak of all the BWF [Badminton World Federation] events.”

The matches will take place at the Hamdan Sports Complex, which is situated on the Emirates Road and hosted the International Tennis Premier League last week.

Badminton may not have the wider international pull of tennis, but it does lay claim to being the fastest racquet sport in the world.

This weekend is the first time the sport’s season finale will take place in Dubai.

It will be a feature of the December sports calendar for the next four years in the UAE, at least, by the terms of an agreement between the Dubai Sports Council and the BWF.

Thomas Lund, the BWF secretary general, believes the emirate could become a hub for the sport.

“As an international city accessible from the Far East and Europe, the Americas, Africa and Oceania, Dubai has vast potential as a badminton destination,” Lund said.

“We hope badminton will soon be one of the most popular sports in this region through the efforts to bring this year-end tournament to Dubai.”

World Superseries Finals information

What is it?

The Metlife Badminton World Federation Destination Dubai World Superseries Finals - to give it its full name - sees the leading players in the sport compete for a share of a $1 million prize pool.

The leading eight available from badminton’s rankings for each of men, women, doubles and mixed doubles qualified for the five days of competition in Dubai. The finals will be played on Sunday.

How does it work?

A badminton match consists of the best of three games played to 21 points.

If the scores are tied at 20 points, the player or pair who gain a two-point lead win the game. At 29-all, the next point wins.

If the server wins a rally, they score a point then serve from the alternate service box.

If the receiver wins a rally, they score a point, win the service and serve from the appropriate service court.

What is the world superseries?

The circuit started in 2007. It consists of 12 tournaments across the world, five of which are designated as premier events, meaning the top 10 players in the standings have to take part. The points on offer at the 12 events decide the rankings.

The premier events are played in Malaysia, England, Denmark, Indonesia and China. Each of those countries - bar Malaysia - has representatives playing in Dubai this week.

Admission

The tournament takes places from Wednesday to Sunday at the Hamdan Sports Complex on Emirates Road (formerly the Dubai Bypass Road).

Tickets are on sale at www.ticketmaster.ae and at the venue, with general admission for Wednesday and Thursday priced at Dh20, while Friday, Saturday and Sunday is Dh25. Season passes cost Dh75.

Women’s Singles

Group A

1 Wang Shixian (China, series ranked 2)

2 Saina Nehwal (India, 4)

3 Sung Ji Hyun (South Korea, 6)

4 Bae Yeon Ju (South Korea, 8)

Group B

1 Wang Yihan (China, 2)

2 Ratchanok Intanon (Thailand, 5)

3 Tai Tzu Ying (Chinese Taipei, 7)

4 Akane Yamaguchi (Japan, 9)

Men’s Singles

Group A

1 Chen Long (China, series ranked 1)

2 Son Wan Ho (South Korea, 4)

3 Kenichi Tago (Japan, 9)

4 Hans Kristian Vittinghus (Denmark, 7)

Group B

1 Jan O Jorgenson (Denmark, 3)

2 K Srikanth (India, 5)

3 Kento Momota (South Korea, 6)

4 Tommy Sugiarto (Indonesia, 8)

pradley@thenational.ae

Follow our sports coverage on twitter at @SprtNationalUAE

Published: December 15, 2014 04:00 AM

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