Thailand’s Ratchanok Intanon and Malaysia’s Lee Chong Wei (BWF home page) are among a list of illustrious names vying for the BWF Player of the Year for 2013. The winners in the three categories – Male, Female and Promising Player of the Year – will be announced at the BWF Gala Dinner and Awards Ceremony on Friday 23 May in New Delhi. The Li-Ning BWF Thomas & Uber Cup Finals are scheduled to be held from 18 to 25 May at Siri Fort Complex in the Indian capital.
Men’s Singles world No.1 Lee Chong Wei – who has won the award thrice already -- will have to see off competition from the likes of China’s Chen Long and Lin Dan and Men’s Doubles stars Mohammad Ahsan/Hendra Setiawan (Indonesia) and Ko Sung Hyun/Lee Yong Dae (Korea) if he is to win the Male Player of the Year once more.
Lee won seven Superseries events last year, but he was beaten in the finals of the prestigious All England and Denmark Opens by Chen Long. Lee also lost to Lin Dan in the final of the BWF World Championships, which was one of only two events the Olympic champion took part in last year.
Indonesia’s Mohammad Ahsan/Hendra Setiawan (above) struck up a golden run of form in 2013, with five Superseries titles and the BWF World Championships.
In the Women’s category, Intanon is the sole non-Chinese contender in a list that includes Wang Yihan, Li Xuerui and Women’s Doubles pair Yu Yang/Wang Xiaoli.
Intanon emerged champion at the BWF World Championships, while Olympic champion Li Xuerui had three Superseries titles to her name, the same number as her compatriot Wang Yihan (left). Yu Yang and Wang Xiaoli dominated Women’s Doubles in 2013 with four Superseries wins and striumphs at the BWF World Championships and Badminton Asia Championships.
Those in the reckoning for the Eddy Choong Most Promising Player of the Year Award are Korea’s Heo Kwang Hee, Japan’s Akane Yamaguchi and Aya Ohori (below), Thailand’s Busanan Ongbumrungpan and Chinese Taipei’s Wang Tzu Wei. Heo and Yamaguchi were World Junior Champions last year, while Ohori was runner-up at the World Junior Championships and winner of the Asia Youth U19 Championships.
The Player of the Year Awards were first announced for 2008. Lin Dan and Zhou Mi (Hong Kong) were named Male and Female Player of the Year respectively, while Saina Nehwal (India) won the Eddy Choong Award. Lee Chong Wei was Male Player of the Year for three consecutive years (2009, 2010 and 2011), followed by China’s Men’s Doubles pair Cai Yun/Fu Haifeng. In the Women’s category, Zhou Mi was followed by Wang Yihan (2009), Wang Xin (2010), Wang Xiaoli/Yu Yang (2011) and Wang Yihan again (2012).
The Eddy Choong awardees after its inaugural year were Ratchanok Intanon (2009), Viktor Axelsen (Denmark, 2010), Malaysia’s Zulfadli Zulkiffli and Chinese Taipei’s Tai Tzu Ying (2011) and Kento Momota (Japan, 2012).