|Top dog: Badminton ace Nguyen Tien Minh has dominated the National Badminton Individual Championships for years. — Photo badmintonfcforum.com
HA NOI (VNS) — The National Badminton Individual Championships will kick off on Sunday in HCM City.
More than 120 athletes nationwide will compete in men's and women's singles and doubles events for a total of US$8,000 in prize money.
"The tournament is preparation for the National Sport Games next year, so all participating teams have sent their best representatives to Phan Dinh Phung Gymnasium," said Le Thanh Sang, General Secretary of the Viet Nam Badminton Federation (VBF).
Included in the women's draw are veteran Nguyen Thi Binh Tho of Thai Binh and Pham Thi Trang from Thanh Hoa, who will both compete in the championships as athletes and coaches.
"Tho and Trang have moved to coaching careers but they will come back and play to make their teams more powerful," Sang said.
According to the official, who is also the federation's deputy chairman, the men's title will be won once again by Nguyen Tien Minh of HCM City, as he is the nation's top player and world seed No 5.
"Unless there is a huge shock, Minh will easily defend his crown. At present he has no worthy rival in the country.
"However there will be aggressive competition for runners up positions."
Sang said Le Thu Huyen, Vu Thi Trang, Nguyen Thuy Linh and Dinh Thi Phuong Hong were the favourites in the women's rounds.
Trang is the tournament's defending champion while Huyen is the national champion.
Linh is a raising star who has graduated from the junior level with honours in every age group she entered.
Hong has recently made such remarkable progress that Sang said the VBF plan to strongly invest in her career.
In singles events, players will take part in a qualification round. Winners will advance to the second stage and meet with wild-cards and seeded players.
The top eight athletes will then enter the next round where they will be divided into two pools, playing in a round-robin format. The best two in each pool will qualify as semi-finalists.
In contrast, the doubles events will apply the knock-out rule from beginning to the end. — VNS