Chinese Wang Lin and Wang Xin, both former world women’s singles No. 1, will grace the FDG Cup Open and Invitational badminton tournament which braces for its grand 11th staging this weekend at Powersmash Badminton Center in Makati.
Lin, who nipped Xin for the gold medal in the 2010 World Championships in Paris, will play exhibition matches with Frederick D. Go and members of the national team along with celebrity-guests in the highlight of the two-weekend tournament set June 14-15 and June 20-21, which features the cream of the country’s badminton crop.
Although they would be seeing action in the exhibition side of the four-day tournament, their mere presence is expected to draw the crowd and inspire local players vying in the annual event, which also stakes cash prizes and ranking points.
The 25-year-old Lin from Zhenjiang, a former French and Denmark Open winner, reigned over the Badminton World Federation in 2010 after copping the world crown, while Xin, 29, who also took the top ranking in late 2010, won the Asian Games and Uber Cup gold medal in 2010 and 2012, respectively.
A Philippine Open champion in 2009, Xin racked up five victories in 2011, winning the Hong Kong, French, Denmark and Singapore Opens and the Malaysia Open Grand Prix.
The Chinese aces are but two of the world ranked players who have graced the annual event the last few years with world No. 1 Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia and Denmark’s Peter Gade, the world’s top player from 1998-2001, taking part in the event’s milestone 10th season last year.
Meanwhile, fabulous prizes will be raffled off during awards rites on June 21 to be hosted by Ai-ai de las Alas with comedians Jose Manalo and Wally Bayola spicing up the event.
Top ranked Toby Gadi and Bianca Carlos banner the stellar field that includes defending men’s double champions and Team Phl/Smash Pilipinas mainstays Paul Vivas, Peter Magnaye, and runners-up Ronel Estanislao and Joper Escueta along with Ateneo’s Patrick Natividad and Justin Natividad.
Also seeing action in the event, held as part of the Philippine National Ranking System (PNRS) of the Philippine Badminton Association in partnership with Smart Communications, are Gelita Castilo, Danica Bolos, Jennifer Cayetano and Kristina Tan.
The FDG Cup Open division, which also features the men’s and women’s doubles and mixed doubles, will also give players a shot to become members of the Smash Pilipinas badminton team.
The Open singles winners will receive P60,000 (men’s) and P40,000 (ladies), the men’s doubles winners will get P100,000, while the women’s doubles and mixed doubles champions will receive P60,000 and P80,000, respectively.(pr)