Withdrawals will not deter fans: Li-Ning Singapore Open

(L-R) China's Wang Zhengming, Du Pengyu and Superseries marketing manager S. Selvam (Photo courtesy of Li-Ning Singapore Open)(L-R) China's Wang Zhengming, Du Pengyu and Superseries marketing manager S. Selvam (Photo courtesy of Li-Ning …

Organisers of the Li-Ning Singapore Open are confident the withdrawals of players will not deter fans from catching the action which starts on Tuesday at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.

15 players including China's women's no.8 Jiang Yanjiao and South Korea's women's no.13 Bae Youn Joo took their names out just days before the start of the Super Series tournament, adding to the five Chinese players who withdrew last month.

But the organisers believe it will attract more local fans as Singapore's Olympic-bound shuttler Derek Wong replaces Indonesia's Simon Santoso in the main draw.

Rose Tan, media director of Li-Ning Singapore Open, said in a press conference on Monday, "Those who come to watch their celebrity players may not turn up.

"But with the latest withdrawals it may be good news because Derek will move into the main draw and there could be more Singapore players moving up and that may attract more local crowd."

She also hopes fans will pack the stadium to give Wong a good send-off to the London Olympics.

She added, "We hope there will be a packed stadium as it would encourage Derek as he represents Singapore in the Olympics."

S. Selvam, Superseries marketing manager of the Badminton World Federation, gave the reasoning behind the withdrawals and believes there are enough quality players to attract fans.

He said, "It's normal during periods like this when players tend to stay away to prepare for a big competition such as the Olympics.

"The diehard fans will still come and watch. We must not take the credit away from the current batch of players who are here.

"There are many good players here and some of them are the up and coming stars in badminton," he added.

Fans can look forward to watching Olympic men's singles champion Taufik Hidayat in action.

Other notable stars include China's Du Pengyu, Thailand's Boonsak Ponsana, Vietnam's Nguyen Tien Minh, and Indonesia's Markis Kido and Hendra Setiawan.