International stars gear up for India Open
New Delhi: International stars, including Lee Chong Wei and Taufik Hidayat, are training their guns at the Yonex Sunrise India Open Super Series, which will get underway at the Siri Fort Sports complex from April 24.
The India Open is the last event in the one-year qualifying period for the London Olympics and has attracted over 250 entries and World Number One Lee feels it would serve as a "good preparation" for him ahead of the Games.
"I have always enjoyed playing in India and the Yonex Sunrise India Open will be a good preparation for me before I begin my training for the London Olympics," Lee Chong Wei said.
Even though Lee has already booked his berth, there are many international stars, including Taufik Hidayat, who are yet to seal their place for the London Games.
"It`s always been nice to play in places where badminton is growing and India is one of them. I am yet to qualify and Yonex-Sunrise India Open Super Series would be one of the most important tournaments for me. Hopefully, I can perform my best on this event," said Taufik Hidayat, a former World and Olympic champion.
Among others, the men`s singles will also feature players like 2010 world champion Chen Jin of China, 1999 All England Open Badminton Championships Peter Gade of Denmark, 2010 All England Open finalist Kenichi Tago of Japan.
In the women`s section, world number three Shixian Wang and Li Xuirei of China would be seen locked in a battle with India`s Saina Nehwal and two-time All England champion Tine Baun.
China is trying to ensure that all their top four shuttlers are available for selection for the London Games.
Saina has already qualified for the Games but she would be vying to better her place in top four to ensure not to meet top players of the world before the semi finals in the Olympics.
The 22-year-old, who recently won the Swiss Open, said she has started her preparation in full-swing and reckoned the Indian Open as one of the most important event this year.
"As a tournament Yonex Sunrise India Open is extremely important, not only because its the last qualifying tournament for the Olympics but also for the kind of participation we will be having this year. All top players will be vying in there. I am training doubly hard for it," Saina said.
The India Open will also prove vital for Ajay Jayaram and P Kashyap who would be locked in a battle of supremacy as only the best ranked player after the event, will qualify for the Olympics.
Jwala Gutta and V Diju will also try to at least retain their world number 16 ranking to represent India in London by the time the list of May 3 is decided.
The tournament will also be a test for Jwala and her doubles partner Ashwini Ponnappa, who won the Commonwealth Games gold medal at the same venue in 2010.