|Click on the image above to access Destination Dubai, the official tournament website.|
The 9th season to have taken place, the Masters Finals sees the top 8 players (Men and Women) over the course of the season descend on Dubai, to fight it out for the $1m prize money.
After a UK businessman hit the headlines last month after outrageously calling Badminton Players “Gays”, the Olympic sport will looking to be showing just why the derogatory claims are not warranted. Though dominated by Chinese Athletes, the limit only two from every nation makes the Masters Final have a more International flavour. Here I take a look at both Men and Women’s singles players and their chances of winning the Masters Finals.
Chen Long heads into the tournament the favourite and the Chinese former champion will be looking for his 3rd title in 4 years.
Unfortunately, Lee Chong Wei was unable to reach the Finals despite the Malaysian’s late return to form, which has seen him rise to number 6 in the world. This year’s China Open winner will be bitterly disappointed as he missed out on last year’s completion too, due to a 9 month doping ban.
Tian Houwei also misses out through a technicality due to being the 3rd Chinese player eligible and the BWF only allowing 2 from each nation in the final.
Lin Dan will be the big name draw in the men’s competition. The so called ‘David Beckham of Badminton’, along with other nicknames, is a fan favourite ever since his passionate topless celebration after winning the Olympic Gold in London 2012.
The model and owner of an underwear clothing line goes to Dubai as the 3rd best player in the world but I am sure the fans in the Hamdan Sports Complex, Dubai will be hoping for another passionate display, preferably ending in him revealing his famous tattoos again.
The men’s event is missing a few key players as stated and this should make for an easier route to winning for Chen Long - he is the favourite, but many fans will be hoping for an upset albeit so another superstar Chinese player in Lin Dan can win.
The women’s game is a much more exciting prospect. The player to beat will be a Spaniard in the form of Carolina Marin. The Spanish Star has already collected the Australian, Hong Kong and French Opens this year and sets herself up for a very strong position to win the Finals.
She is quickly followed by two Chinese athletes, in second and third who will be hoping to make a clean sweep with the men. Wang Shixian lost 2 of those finals to Marin and she will be wanting her revenge on the biggest stage of the year.
It is very much a global offering this year in the women’s game, with the Indian Saina Nehwal, Nozomi Okuhara from Japan and Taiwanese defending champion Tai Tzu Ying all competing.
Of course Marin will go into the final favourite but the odds show a much tighter bunching than in the men’s competition.
Report by JF Mason