Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — Husband and wife Nguyễn Tiến Minh and Vũ Thị Trang will defend their singles titles at the Ciputra Hanoi -- Yonex Sunrise Vietnam International Challenge, which will be held here on March 21-26.
Nearly 250 athletes from different countries have registered to take part in the annual event, which is in its ninth edition.
As the hosts, Việt Nam have the largest team, at 60 players, competing in all five categories. Indonesia have 56 athletes, and Thailand have 50 representatives.
Minh and Trang are seeded No 1s in their classes.
According to Bùi Kim Hà, general secretary of the Hà Nội Badminton Federation, both players will face challenges in defending their titles.
“Minh is currently the world’s No 39. His main rivals will be from Thailand: Khosit Phetpradab, who is seeded No 54, and Suppanyu Avihingsanon, No 64. They are at a lower level than Minh but are younger and have a better physique,” said Hà at a recent press briefing.
No 2 seed Phetpradab is 23 and is currently at his peak. He won the Smiling Fish International in 2014, the Malaysia International in 2015 and came second at the Hanoi International Challenges in 2015.
Avihingsanon, 27, is a veteran player. He pocketed gold medals at the Smiling Fish International and USM Indonesia International last year. He is seeded No 3 for this event.
In her pool, Trang, world No 36, will have to vie for gold against Jia Minyeo of Singapore. She is the world’s No 83 but is the defending champion of the Vietnam Open.
“Minyeo is a talent from Singapore and has received strong support from her home country to reach a higher world ranking,” said Hà.
No 2 seed Pornpawee Chochuwong, world’s No 38, and Chinese Taipei’s Su Yu Chen, world’s No 81, were also said to be contenders for the title.
Trang will also take part in the women’s doubles, paired with long-time partner Nguyễn Thị Sen, to make a No 1 duo.
Việt Nam also have top nominees Đỗ Tuấn Đức and Nguyễn Như Thảo in the mixed doubles category.
The finals are scheduled for March 26, with US$20,000 in prize money, an increase of some 13 per cent over last year. — VNS