December 15 2014, Dubai: World class badminton arrives in Dubai for the first time this week, with the season ending BWF Destination Dubai World Superseries Finals extravaganza taking place at the Hamdan Sports Complex from 17-21 December.
Only the eight top-ranked players from the BWF Destination Dubai Rankings in men’s and women’s singles, men’s and women’s doubles and mixed doubles have earned a place at the prestigious tournament, which sees them compete for a share of a US$1million prize pool. To qualify for Dubai the players had to amass points from twelve MetLife BWF World Superseries Tournaments held around the world throughout the year.
Held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, the World Superseries Finals are to be staged in Dubai each December until 2017 as part of a four-year partnership, facilitated by Falcon and Associates, with the BWF.
Speaking at the pre-event Press Conference and Draw today, Alastair Ruxton, Commercial and Legal Director at Falcon and Associates, said: “Having the BWF Destination Dubai World Superseries Finals in Dubai this week is an exciting time for the sport of badminton, and for Dubai. This is the first time a badminton event of this caliber has been held in the region, and with Dubai being a leader of high-profile and world class sporting events, this event is a wonderful addition to our already impressive sporting calendar.
Thomas Lund, BWF Secretary General said: “The significance of this occasion – to have the very best players in the world showcase their skills in Dubai – cannot be underestimated. It’s not every day that sports fans get to watch elite athletes play in their country and we hope Dubai resident will come out to cheer on these world class players as well as to see the incredible sports presentation which has been planned.
“The partnership with Dubai represents a key opportunity for us to gain exposure for the increasingly-popular MetLife World Superseries in a growing market and align ourselves with Dubai, whose global connectivity, accessibility and track record in hosting world-class sporting events will make badminton accessible to more fans around the world.”
Dr Aysha Albusmait, Director of Communication and Marketing at Dubai Sports Council said “Since its inception Dubai Sports Council has sought to attract major events to the city, not only to provide excellent entertainment for sports fans, but also to create a legacy through increasing participation and raising the standard of performance in sport throughout the community.
“We are pleased to announce that Shuttle Time Dubai has been, and we believe will continue to be, a tremendous success in creating awareness, increasing participation and promoting the sport of badminton in Dubai. So far it has connected with hundreds of new and existing players of all ages, and it will be a catalyst for the continued growth of the sport in Dubai.
“We are proud to be presenting this event at the state-of-the-art Hamdan Sports Complex. This facility has allowed us to host several events across a range of sports in recent years, and we are delighted to now welcome the world of the badminton to this wonderful venue and to our great city.
“The BWF Destination Dubai World Superseries Finals will provide spectators the opportunity to watch world class badminton for the first time in Dubai. We hope that seeing the elite in action will further inspire people of all ages to take up this great sport, and perhaps in the future some of the children who are introduced to the game through Shuttle Time Dubai may qualify for this event”.
Commenting on the draw today, World Champion Chen Long of China said “This is the highlight of the Series, so I will try my best to win. This really is the peak of all the BWF events.” Chen will meet Korea’s Son Wan Ho, Japan’s Kenichi Tago and Denmark’s Hans-Kristian Vittinghus in Men’s Singles Group A.
Tago said “I would prefer to be in Group B! (with Jan Ø. Jørgensen (DEN), K Srikanth (IND), Kento Momota (JPN) and Tommy Sugiarto (INA)), but all I can do is try my best.”
Indian superstar Saina Nehwal also has a tough draw, meeting China’s Wang Shixian, Sung Ji Hyun and Bae Yeon Ju, both of Korea in Women’s Singles Group A. Speaking after the Draw, Nehwal said: “I’m happy to be here, but this is not an easy draw. Wang Shixian will be tough, and there will be long matches. I’m feeling good though, so I should be able to play well.”
The Men’s, Women’s and Mixed Doubles draws also threw together some tough pools, although with only the top eight in the BWF Destination Dubai Rankings qualifying, all games will test the players. England’s husband and wife team of Chris and Gabrielle Adcock believe they can perform well, and are excited to have made it to the Superseries Finals in Dubai. “It’s nice to be playing somewhere different. I know there’s a lot of excitement among the players to be here in Dubai.”
Dual doubles title holder from 2013, Christinna Pedersen of Denmark is again in the running for both the Women’s and Mixed Doubles titles. “It will be very tough to win here, but it is great to be in Dubai. The venue looks amazing, I have really been looking forward to coming here.” Excitement about playing in Dubai was also echoed by Korean Men’s doubles player Lee Yong Dae, who said;” Once I heard it was going to be here I did my best to get here.”
In a special feature today, children who are participants in the Shuttle Time Dubai programme assisted with the selection of the pools and names for the draw. The children, who represent a number of different nationalities and schools, were delighted to be part of such an important event.
Action in the BWF Destination Dubai World Superseries Finals starts on Wednesday 17 December at 9am. Matches will be played throughout the day, concluding at 11pm. The order of play and all the details can be found at www.destinationdubai.ae.
Press release by Sarah Marks.