MANILA, Philippines - Some of the world top-rated badminton players, including Malaysia’s No. 1 Lee Chong Wei and the tandem of Koo Kien Keat and Tan Boon Heong, head for Manila on July 1-5 when the Bingo Bonanza Philippine Open Grand Prix Badminton is held at the Philsports Arena in Pasig City.
The fancied Malaysian squad has confirmed its participation in the $120,000 event, along with Indonesian world champions Lilyana Natsir and Nova Widianto, China’s Zhou Mi and the pair of Chien Yu Chin and Cheng Wen Hsing.
This marks the third time in four years that Bingo Bonanza is sponsoring the premier championship after it gave way to the Beijing Olympics last year.
“Some of the best players in the world are coming so Filipinos will have a chance to see them play,” said Philippine Badminton Association president former First Lady Amelita “Ming” Ramos yesterday during the PSA Forum at the Shakey’s UN Ave.
Bingo Bonanza president Albee Benitez said the champions in the last Bingo Bonanza RP Open will be back to defend their respective titles in the five-day championship.
Lee and Zhou are the defending champions in the singles events while the Koo-Tan pair are the men’s doubles titlists. Natsir and Widianto ruled the 2007 mixed doubles event while Chien and Cheng the reigning champions in women’s doubles.
Out to foil their bids are top players from Korea, Vietnam and England while promising talents from China and Indonesia are also playing in the meet backed by Victor (PCOME Industrial Sales, Inc) PLDT Business Solutions, The Philippine STAR, Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza and Solar Sports, organized by the International Management Group and sanctioned by the PBA.
“All the players who won in our last edition in 2007 are returning to defend their titles,” said Benitez. “We have invited many more players outside Asia so we’re expecting a really exciting event.”
Ramos also said the tournament, a Graded four-star or Gold event, will give Filipino players a chance to gain ranking points needed to make it to the 2012 London Olympics.
“It will give our players a chance to get some points for the Olympics,” said Ramos.
The veteran pair of Kenny and Kennevic Asuncion will again lead the local contingent although a slew of rising stars will be out to showcase their talent and skills against a tough international field.