The fate of the nations competing in the 2020 Badminton Asia Manila Team Championships has been revealed, Wednesday at the Century Park Hotel.
Host Philippines, seeded ninth in the continental meet that will take place from February 11-16 at the historic Rizal Memorial Coliseum, received a somewhat favorable draw.
The Philippine Men’s National Badminton Team, consisting of Joper Escueta, Ariel Magnaye, Alvin Morada, Solomon Padiz Jr., Paul John Pantig, Ros Pedrosa, Arthur Salvado, and Lanz Zafra, are slotted in Group A together with top-seed Indonesia and fifth-ranked India.
On the other hand, the women’s team of Nicole Albo, Sarah Barredo, Mika De Guzman, Geva De Vera, Ysay Leonardo, Chanelle Lunod, Bianca Carlos, and Thea Pomar will figure in Group C with fellow Southeast Asian squads Thailand and Indonesia.
“We need to prepare since we fell short in the SEA Games. We need to double time, triple time with our effort,” said women’s team head coach Ian Mendez.
“We are playing with the best in the world. We fell short during the SEA Games but hopefully, we will give them a good fight this time,” added men’s team head coach Ronald Magnaye.
Men’s runner-up in 2018 China headlines Group B and will be joined by Thailand and Hong Kong while Group C will consist of Chinese-Taipei, Malaysia, and Singapore.
Powerhouse Japan will be without world no. 1 Kento Momota as he is still recovering from injuries he sustained from a vehicular accident late last year. It leads Group D together with Korea and Kazakhstan.
Defending women’s champion Japan is slotted with Malaysia and Hong Kong in Group W. Korea, India, and Kazakhstan will wage war in Group X while China, Chinese-Taipei, and Singapore will duke it out in Group Z.
The top two teams in each group will advance to the knockout quarterfinals while the four semifinalists will punch their ticket to the Thomas and Uber Cup in Aarhus, Denmark this May.
Even with Momoto out, the rest of the world’s best will take part in the biennial tournament, including world no. 2 Tien Chen Chou of Chinese Taipei, no. 5 Anthony Ginting and no. 7 Jonatan Christie of Indonesia, no. 9 Ka Long Angus Ng of Hong Kong, and no. 10 Kanta Tsuneyama of Japan for the men’s.
The top seven female shuttlers in the world will also join, namely China’s Yu Fei Chen, Chinese Taipei’s Tzu Ying Tai, Japanese duo Akane Yamaguchi and Nozomi Okuhara, Thailand’s Ratchanok Intanon, India’s Pusarla Sindh, and China’s Bing Jiao He.
“We’re happy to help out in the country’s hosting of this prestigious international sports event. This is very much in line with our advocacy of helping nation-building through sports. We strongly believe that the positive values that sports promote can help our people to improve our lives,” said PLDT chairman Manny V. Pangilinan, who has been supporting Philippine Badminton for the last decade.
“This is going to be the first time that there will be so many top-ranked players who will be going to this tournament in the Philippines. These will be exciting times for the Philippines,” added Philippine Badminton Association president Alfredo Benitez.
The tournament is backed by SMART Communications Ic., MVP Sports Foundation, Leisure and Resorts World Corporation, Cignal, and TV5.