Nitchaon, Tanongsak lead local challenge

Nitchaon, Tanongsak lead local challenge

World No.13 Nitchaon Jindapol of Thailand during a tournament this year.
World No.13 Nitchaon Jindapol of Thailand during a tournament this year.

Nitchaon Jindapol and Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk will lead the Thai challenge at the Princess Sirivannavari Thailand Masters in Bangkok next month.

The US$150,000 (approximately 5 million baht) tournament will be held at Nimibutr Stadium from Jan 9-14.

It will be the first Badminton World Federation tournament of the year and is categorised as a grade 2 level 5 (Grand Prix Gold) event.

Tourism and Sports Minister Weerasak Kowsurat told a press conference yesterday that about 500 shuttlers from 25 countries will take part in the third edition of the tournament.

"It is a big event sanctioned by the BWF and offers world ranking points,'' he said. "It is a good way for Thai badminton to begin the year."

The Thai men will be led by world No.18 Tanongsak and No.29 Khosit Phetpradab.

The Thai women will be spearheaded by No.13 Nitchaon, who won the Bitburger Open title in Germany last month, and No.18 Busanan Ongbamrungphan.

Unfortunately, world No.6 Ratchanok Intanon, the country's top female player, has not entered the event.

Ratchanok had a good run this year. She won the Denmark Open Superseries event, and Thailand Open and New Zealand Open Grand Prix Gold tournaments.

No.25 Tommy Sugiarto will lead the Indonesian men's team at the Princess Sirivannavari Thailand Masters.

"A lot of good players from the likes of Indonesia, China, Malaysia, Japan and Denmark will take part in the tournament," said Khunying Patama Leeswadtrakul, president of the Badminton Association of Thailand.

She said the event provides a good tune-up for Thailand's preparations to host the Thomas Cup and Uber Cup later next year.

The Princess Sirivannavari Thailand Masters will have plenty of entertainment.

It will be shown live worldwide and is expected to reach about 300 million households.

The tournament was established in honour of HRH Princess Sirivannavari Nariratana, a former national badminton player who won a SEA Games gold medal in the women's team event in 2005.

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