Hong Kong Open suffers blow as Lin and Wang pull out

PUBLISHED : Monday, 09 November, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 09 November, 2009, 12:00am

The Hong Kong Super Series Open has suffered a major setback following the withdrawals of some key players.

Lin Dan, China's Olympic singles champion in Beijing, said yesterday that he was too tired to play at the HK$2 million tournament, which starts at Queen Elizabeth Stadium in Wan Chai today. In the women's singles, Wang Chen, the defending champion and home favourite, also withdrew because of injury.

Lin, who is also the reigning world champion, arrived in Hong Kong on Friday for a series of promotional activities for the Chinese Athletes Education Foundation before playing his first match on Wednesday. But Lin said during one of these activities yesterday that he would withdraw from the tournament because of his recent hectic schedule.

He had just returned from the French Super Series before his arrival in Hong Kong last week. He defeated Taufik Hidayat of Indonesia 2-0 in the final to clinch the men's singles title.

Tournament organisers said last night that they had yet to receive Lin's withdrawal, while chairman of the Hong Kong Badminton Association Tong Wai-lun said it would be a big loss if Lin, seeded second in the Hong Kong event, had pulled out.

'We have not heard anything on this, but we all know Lin is very popular in Hong Kong,' Tong said. 'His withdrawal will definitely affect the quality of the draw.'

Lin lost to compatriot Chen Jin in the final of last year's event.

Meanwhile, Hong Kong team coach Chan Chi-choi said that Wang had yet to recover from a nagging injury that had kept the player out of competition since September.

'We hope she can start in next week's China Super Series but it depends on her progress,' said the coach.