Wednesday, July 27, 2016
TEXT BY DEV SUKUMAR & GAYLE ALLEYNE | PEDRO MARTINS
Arch-rivals and finalists in the last two Olympic Men’s Singles competitions – Lin Dan and Lee Chong Wei – will not clash for a third gold medal in Rio.
The most anticipated question in the run-up to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games was answered at today’s Draw Ceremony as two-time Olympic champion, Lin Dan, and Malaysia’s Lee Chong Wei found themselves in the same half of the draw.
That means twice runner-up Lee – the top seed in Rio 2016 – and ¾ seed Lin of China (picked into Group E) can only meet in the semi-finals. The other ¾ seed, Denmark’s Viktor Axelsen, was drawn in Group L, putting him in the same half as two-time World champion and second seed Chen Long (China). The draw was conducted in Riocentro – Pavilion 4 in the presence of representatives of BWF member associations, National Olympic Committees (NOCs) and accredited media.
Apart from Lin Dan, Chinese Taipei’s Chou Tien Chen, Hong Kong’s Hu Yun, Denmark’s Jan O Jorgensen and India’s Kidambi Srikanth are in the top half, while Germany’s Marc Zwiebler, Denmark’s Axelsen, Hong Kong’s Ng Ka Long and Korea’s Son Wan Ho are in the bottom half with Chen Long.
In Women’s Singles, top seed Carolina Marin (Spain) has drawn in her half the two players she has beaten in BWF World Championships finals: China’s Li Xuerui and India’s Saina Nehwal. The other seeds in her half are Korea’s Sung Ji Hyun, Great Britain’s Kirsty Gilmour and Thailand’s Porntip Buranapraserstsuk.
Second seed Wang Yihan faces a possible quarter-final against Chinese Taipei’s Tai Tzu Ying or India’s PV Sindhu, while her semi-final opponent – assuming no upsets – might be Thailand’s Ratchanok Intanon, Japan’s Akane Yamaguchi, Korea’s Bae Yeon Ju or Japan’s Nozomi Okuhara.
Meanwhile, in a break between the doubles and singles draws, BWF Secretary General Thomas Lund addressed the question of the Russian athletes slated to compete in Men’s Singles (Vladimir Malkov), Women’s Singles (Natalia Perminova) and Men’s Doubles (Vladimir Ivanov/Ivan Sozonov), revealing that BWF has provided information about all four to the International Olympic Committee regarding the criteria for participation in Rio 2016.
“We have had a rigid drug-testing programme, especially leading up to Rio 2016 and all four Russian athletes have been tested in and out of competition and their samples have been analysed outside of Russia,” he told the gathering.
“We believe the information that we have provided on these athletes lives up to the criteria for participation in the Badminton Competition at Rio 2016, but it is left for the IOC to validate.
“We have chosen to keep them in the draw, pending that validation.”
Group D might well be termed the ‘group of death’. Second seeds Mohammad Ahsan/Hendra Setiawan’s group-mates are China’s Chai Biao/Hong Wei, Japan’s Hiroyuki Endo/Kenichi Hayakawa and India’s Manu Attri/Sumeeth Reddy.
Top seeds Lee Yong Dae/Yoo Yeon Seong (Korea) are placed alongside Yonex All England champions Vladimir Ivanov/Ivan Sozonov (Russia), Chinese Taipei’s Lee Sheng Mu/Tsai Chia Hsin and Australia’s Matthew Chau/Sawan Serasinghe.
China’s Fu Haifeng/Zhang Nan are in Group B with Germany’s Michael Fuchs/Johannes Schoettler, Malaysia’s Goh V Shem/Tan Wee Kiong and USA’s Phillip Chew/Sattawat Pongnairat. Another Korean pair, Kim Gi Jung/Kim Sa Rang, are in Group C with Denmark’s Mathias Boe/Carsten Mogensen, Poland’s Adam Cwalina/P Wacha and Great Britain’s Marcus Ellis/Chris Langridge.
Top seeds Misaki Matsutomo/Ayaka Takahashi (Japan) are in Group A alongside Dutch duo Eefje Muskens/Selena Piek, India’s Jwala Gutta/Ashwini Ponnappa and Thailand’s Puttita Supajirakul/Sapsiree Taerattanachai.
Group B looks the toughest among the four groups: Korea’s Jung Kyung Eun/Shin Seung Chan will have to battle China’s Dubai World Superseries Finals champions Luo Ying/Luo Yu, Denmark’s Christinna Pedersen/Kamilla Rytter Juhl and USA’s Paula Lynn Obanana/Eva Lee for group supremacy.
Group B is likely to see some fireworks: Olympic bronze medallists, Denmark’s Joachim Fischer Nielsen/Christinna Pedersen, are grouped with BCA Indonesia Open champions Xu Chen/Ma Jin, Poland’s Robert Mateusiak/Nadiezda Zieba and Dubai World Superseries Finals champions Chris Adcock/Gabrielle Adcock (Great Britain).
Top seeds Zhang Nan/Zhao Yunlei’s (China) group-mates in A are Yonex All England champions Praveen Jordan/Debby Susanto (Indonesia), Hong Kong’s Lee Chun Hei/Chau Hoi Wah and Germany’s Michael Fuchs/Birgit Michels.
Second seeds Ko Sung Hyun/Kim Ha Na (Korea) are in Group D with Dutch pair Jacco Arends/Selena Piek, Japan’s Kenta Kazuno/Ayane Kurihara and USA’s Phillip Chew/Jamie Subandhi.
Featured image: Two-time Olympic Men’s Singles champion, Lin Dan of China, is drawn into
India’s Women’s Singles player Saina Nehwal’s name is pulled.
BWF Secretary General Thomas Lund is interviewed after the Draw Ceremony.
The Badminton Competition Draw Ceremony underway in Riocentro – Pavilion 4.