Sunday, May 19, 2013
Text by Gayle Alleyne | Edwin Leung
China’s defence of the Li-Ning BWF Sudirman Cup began with a good omen on Saturday evening – three of their squad members copping the Male and Female Player of the Year awards for 2012.
Fu Haifeng and Wang Yihan (featured image) were the toast of the BWF All Stars Awards as they accepted the big prizes at the Badminton World Federation’s annual showpiece in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Fu – in tandem with his long-time Men’s Doubles partner Cai Yun (who was absent) – won the top honour from a stellar field after another successful season; the highlight of which was capturing the London 2012 Olympics gold medal. The veteran pair also had a number of BWF Superseries victories last year.
The Female Player of the Year winner, Wang was the Olympic silver medallist and also took home the Malaysia Open and China Masters titles last year. The 25-year-old Women’s Singles competitor also led China’s recapture of the prestigious Uber Cup which they lost to Korea in 2010.
Japan’s Kento Momota was crowned the Most Promising Player of the Year following his successful campaign at the Junior World Championships.
Hall of Fame inductee and former Men’s Doubles exponent, Ha Tae-Kwon of Korea, was also on hand to receive his recognition from his compatriot and outgoing BWF President, Dr. Kang Young Joong. The other Hall of Fame inductee and retired Women’s Singles player, Gong Zhichao of China, was not in attendance.
A number of administrators were also rewarded for their services to badminton. Lifetime Achievement recipient, Heather Robson of New Zealand, thanked BWF for the honour via video. However, Hiromi Murai of Japan received her Women in Badminton award in person.
The glitzy, red-carpet event at Double Tree by Hilton Hotel, which was also the welcome dinner for teams in the Li-Ning BWF Sudirman Cup, was attended by players from the 30 squads as well as new BWF President Poul-Erik Hoyer and new Deputy President Gustavo Salazar Delgado.
Korea’s Ko Sung Hyun and Chinese Taipei’s Tai Tzu Ying were adjudged Best Dressed Male and Female respectively.
RIGHT: Fu Haifeng received the Male Player of the Year Award (shared with Cai Yun) from outgoing BWF President Dr. Kang Young Joong (left) and new BWF President Poul-Erik Hoyer (right).
LEFT: Kento Momota of Japan was all smiles as he accepted the Most Promising Player of the Year prize from outgoing BWF President Dr. Kang Young Joong and IOC Vice President Sir Craig Reedie (left).
Hiromi Murai of Japan received her Women in Badminton award from outgoing BWF President Dr. Kang Young Joong.
Men’s Doubles specialist, Ha Tae-Kwon of Korea (right), was inducted into the BWF Hall of Fame.
Dignitaries at the BWF All Stars Awards and Welcome Dinner for the Li-Ning BWF Sudirman Cup.
Guests at the BWF All Stars Awards and Welcome Dinner for the Li-Ning BWF Sudirman Cup.
Chair of the BWF Athletes’ Commission and new BWF Council Member, Emma Mason, was among more than 600 guests in attendance.
Team Malaysia – including the legendary Lee Chong Wei (centre with Dr. Kang Young Joong) – was out in full force for badminton’s big night.
Team Switzerland – looking fashionable.
Team Indonesia – smart and chic!
Best Dressed: Korea’s Ko Sung Hyun and Chinese Taipei’s Tai Tzu Ying.