Ratchanok to lead Thai charge at Finals
Women's singles ace Ratchanok Intanon and mixed doubles pair Dechapol Puavaranukroh and Sapsiree Taerattanachai will lead the Thai challenge at next week's BWF World Tour Finals in Guangzhou, China, the sport's governing body confirmed yesterday.
The World Tour Finals, to be held from Dec 11-15, features the top eight players and pairs who have qualified through the year-long Race To Guangzhou across the five categories, with the current world champions gaining automatic entries.
The eight qualifiers in all five events were finalised after the final qualifying tournament -- the Korea Masters 2019 which concluded on Nov 24.
A maximum of two players or pairs from each member association can qualify. In all, there are two Thai singles players and two pairs in the season-ending event.
Apart from Ratchanok, the other Thai in the women's singles is Busanan Ongbamrungphan.
Ratchanok, the 2013 world champion, is second and Busanan seventh in the world tour rankings.
Dechapol and Sapsiree, who claimed the Korea Masters title, are the top-ranked mixed doubles pair, while Jongkolphan Kititharakul and Rawinda Prajongjai will compete in the women's doubles.
World No.1 Kento Momota of Japan will be seeking his second Finals trophy in the men's singles after his triumph at the Dubai World Superseries Finals in 2015.
Defending World Tour Finals champions Pusarla V Sindhu of India (women's singles), Li Jun Hui/Liu Yu Chen (men's doubles) of China, and Wang Yi Lyu/Huang Dong Ping (mixed doubles), also from China, are also back for another shot at glory.
Pusarla was assured of her berth despite being in 15th place because the reigning world champions receive automatic spots.
The draw for the World Tour Finals, which offers a total purse of US$1.5 million, will be made on Dec 9.