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Badminton: Chen checks out Dubai venue for Superseries Finals

Chen Long with the BWF Destination Dubai Superseries Finals Countdown Clock outside the Hamdan Sports Complex. Photos: BWF.

Chen Long with the Destination Dubai Superseries Finals Countdown Clock at the Hamdan Sports Complex. Photos: BWF.

October 23, 2014: World champion Chen Long praised the ‘magnificent’ Hamdan Sports Complex as he visited the UAE ahead of the season-ending BWF Destination Dubai Superseries Finals, which will be held from December 17-21.

 

Fresh from retaining his title at the Yonex Denmark Open, the World No. 2 visited Dubai to promote the Superseries Finals and to engage with schoolchildren and players involved in the Shuttle Time Dubai grassroots initiatives linked to the event.

 

Chen, 25, took the opportunity to visit the Hamdan Sports Complex before it hosts the eight-player Superseries Finals, which offers a US$1million purse.

 

“It’s a magnificent venue. I’m really looking forward to competing here in December,” said Chen, who beat World No. 1 Lee Chong Wei to win this year’s Li-Ning BWF World Championships in Copenhagen.

 

“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’m sure that sports fans will have a wonderful time watching the best in the world play for the title.”

 

Chen is second behind Lee on the Destination Dubai rankings and almost certain to play in Dubai, having won the Finals in 2012, but missed out on qualifying last year.

 

Chen at Shuttle Time with Dr Ahmad Al Sharif and participants.

Chen at Shuttle Time with Dr Ahmad Al Sharif and participants.

While in Dubai, Chen also met with local schoolchildren participating in the Shuttle Time schools initiative, engaging with students from Sultan Al Owais Boys School, Al Ahmadiya School and Ahmed Sulayem School.

 

“I think introducing badminton in schools is a brilliant initiative,” Chen said. “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 BWF, facilitated by Falcon and Associates, which includes hosting the annual Superseries Finals each December through 2017.

 

Chen plays with students from Sultan Al Owais Boys School, Al Ahmadiya School and Ahmed Sulayem School.

Chen plays with students from Sultan Al Owais Boys School, Al Ahmadiya School and Ahmed Sulayem School.

Jaffer Ebrahim, Coordinator of Shuttle Time Dubai, said: “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.

 

Source: BWF (www.bwfbadminton.org); Editing by SportAsia

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