Paris, Odense, Fuzhou, Macau and back to Hong Kong: Badminton ace Angus Ng faces gruelling schedule
Hong Kong champion needs to do a lot of travelling to get enough points to qualify for Guangzhou finale in December
Shuttler Angus Ng Ka-long faces a scheduling nightmare as he races against time to book his place in the year-end world tour finals.
Ranked 15th in the race to the finals, Ng must excel in five tournaments to have any chance of qualifying for the Guangzhou finale in December, where only the world’s top eight players, with a maximum two from each country, are eligible to start.
Ng will need to clock thousands of kilometres as he will compete in tournaments in Asia and Europe, guaranteeing a gruelling and hectic schedule.
“It will definitely be a big test of my physical and mental fitness,” said Ng, who will be leaving for Odense, near Copenhagen on Saturday for next week’s Denmark Open, the first of the five big tournaments he has entered.
“There will be five matches in a tournament if you reach the final, and a total of 25 [matches] if you make it to the finals of all but that’s extremely unlikely. But to qualify for the world tour finals and getting good results such as reaching the last eight place are necessary [for me]. It’s a big challenge that I need to overcome.”
After the Denmark Open, Ng and his fellow teammates including mixed doubles pair Tse Ying-suet and Tang Chun-man, will travel to Paris for the French Open the following week.
The Hong Kong team then fly back home for the Macau Open, ahead of the China Open in Fuzhou before returning to the city and rounding off with the Hong Kong Open at the Coliseum from November 13-18.
Ng said he looks forward to playing in front of the home crowd and particularly loved the huge support he received when he lifted the men’s singles crown in 2016.
“It’s really a great experience when the local fans get behind you,” he said. “It seems I always play my best at the Coliseum.”
All the world’s top-10 players, apart for cancer-striken Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia, have entered the Hong Kong tournament which offers prize money of HK$3.12 million. There will be fierce competition in the men’s field that includes world number one Kento Momota, of Japan, the reigning world champion. Joining him will be Viktor Axelsen, the world number three from Denmark, and mainlanders Shi Yuqi and Rio Olympic champion Chen Long, the world number two and world seven respectively.
Two-time Olympic champion Lin Dan, now ranked 14 in the world, will also make the trip to Hong Kong where he has won five times before, joining Lee Chong Wei with the most Hong Kong Open titles.
“We feel sorry that Lee is not well but it’s good news that he is recovering and his cancer seems to be under control,” he said. “We hope to see him back but his health always comes first.
“Lin Dan is always an interesting player and there are many things you can learn from him, though Lin may not be the same ‘Super Dan’ as before. In fact, the chance of me playing Lin is getting less because he’s not getting any younger.”