Dubai, Oct 22, 2014: With less than two months to go until the season-ending BWF Destination Dubai World Superseries Finals, badminton fever hit Dubai yesterday with reigning World champion, China’s Chen Long visiting the city.
Chen, who won the Men’s Singles title at the Li-Ning BWF World Championships in Copenhagen earlier this year by beating his great rival and world No.1, Malaysia’s Lee Chong Wei, was in Dubai to promote the BWF Destination Dubai Superseries Finals, and to engage with schoolchildren and players involved in the Shuttle Time Dubai grassroots initiatives linked to the event.
Fresh from defending his title at the Yonex Denmark Open, Chen Long also took the opportunity to visit the Hamdan Sports Complex, the venue for the BWF Destination Dubai Superseries Finals on 17-21 December. Only the top eight players in the world qualify for the BWF Destination Dubai Superseries Finals and a shot at collecting a share of the $1million prize pool. Chen, who won the Finals in 2012, but missed out on qualifying last year, is in second position on the BWF Destination Dubai rankings behind Lee Chong Wei, and on current form should be a certainty to make the cut for the event.
“It’s a magnificent venue, I am really looking forward to competing here in December” Chen said. “I’m excited at the prospect of playing at such a state-of-the-art facility, it’s great to bring this event to an area that hasn’t had world-class badminton before, and I am sure that sports fans will have a wonderful time watching the best in the world play for the title.”
Chen also took time to meet and engage with local schoolchildren who are being introduced to badminton through the Shuttle Time schools initiative. The children, from Sultan Al Owais Boys School, Al Ahmadiya School and Ahmed Sulayem School, were delighted to have the world champion visit to give them a demonstration and some tips.
“I think introducing badminton in schools is a brilliant initiative. This is the best way to create a legacy from hosting the Superseries Finals and develop a generation of future stars. I look forward to seeing players from the UAE on the world circuit in years to come.”
Chen’s last stop of the day was at the second Shuttle Time Dubai Open at Mirdif City Centre. The Shuttle Time Dubai Opens are a series of tournaments aimed at increasing participation in badminton as part of a major grassroots project linked to the Superseries Finals. The tournaments are part of Dubai’s four-year, multi-platform partnership with the Badminton World Federation (BWF), facilitated by Falcon and Associates, the pinnacle of which will be the staging of the annual Superseries Finals, which will be held in the city each December until 2017.
The badminton superstar’s appearance at Mirdif created great excitement among the competitors and spectators, with Shuttle Time Dubai coordinator Jaffer Ebrahim saying: “World champion Chen Long’s visit to the Mirdif City Centre was fantastic and it was a real treat for the players to see him demonstrate a few tricks. The Shuttle Time Opens are a major component of the BWF’s efforts to groom a new generation of players and enthusiasts here in the country, and having Chen Long in our midst was very inspirational for everyone.”
Chen managed to take some time out in between his badminton-related activities, enjoying lunch with some Chinese business leaders, and visiting some of the famous landmarks of Dubai including the Burj Khalifa. He also went on an abra boat ride, learning more about the history of the emirate as he visited historical parts of the town.
About the BWF Destination Dubai World Superseries Finals:
The BWF Destination Dubai World Superseries Finals will see the eight top players in the BWF Destination Dubai Rankings in singles, doubles and mixed doubles categories compete at the Hamdan Sports Complex from December 17-21 for a share of a million dollar jackpot. To qualify for Dubai the players have to amass points from twelve MetLife BWF World Superseries Tournaments held around the world throughout the year.
BWF is the international governing body of the sport of badminton, recognised by the International Olympic Committee. The purpose and objectives of BWF include regulating, promoting, developing and popularising the sport of badminton throughout the world and organising, conducting and presenting international events at the highest level.
The Badminton World Federation (BWF) has its headquarters in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, with 180 Members Associations worldwide.
About Dubai Sports Council:
Dubai Sports Council was founded on November 30, 2005 with the aim of developing and improving sport in Dubai.
It aims to create a comprehensive sports environment that meets the requirements of society and paves the way for the youth to cultivate their sporting and cultural talents and aptitudes in a way that leads them to achieve tangible results, so that Dubai can become a leading name in the world of sports.
About Falcon and Associates:
Falcon and Associates FZ-LLC is an independent strategic advisory and implementation company working on behalf of the Dubai leadership to enhance the Emirate’s position as a global hub for finance, business and tourism. Falcon partners with government and private entities to build on the Emirate’s many successes to date, helping it fulfil its long-term potential.
Website: www.falconandassociates.ae —- BWF