Following the release of the Northern Marianas Open seeding report, Kevin Cordon, a seasoned campaigner for his beloved Guatemala, is the number one seed in Saipan. Cordon, a four-time Olympic representative for his Central American country will lead the men’s singles lineup.
Beginning his Olympic career in 2008 in Beijing, Cordon had the honour of being named the teams flag bearer. He then represented Guatemala at London 2012 and again in Brazil 2016. At the delayed 2020 Toyko Games (hosted in 2021 due to Covid-19), Cordon had his most successful tournament to date. He played through to the semi-finals by defeating Korean Heo Kwang-Hee to become the first Central American to advance to an Olympic badminton semifinal. Before his exit against eventual gold medal winner Viktor Axelsen (DEN), Cordon had won more matches at the Tokyo Olympic Games than the three previous Games combined.
Now at the age of 36, with a world ranking of 40, he will be looking to continue his recent good form from the III Mexican International Challenge 2023 where he reached the semi-finals. However, in Saipan he will be chasing the title and the valuable world ranking points towards Olympic Games qualification.
Attempting to upset the Guatemalan will be 2nd seed Chi Yu Jen from Chinese Taipei. He enters the Northern Marianas Open with a world ranking of 47, reaching the quarterfinals at the recent Orleans Masters Badminton 2023.
Given their wealth of talent, Korea and Chinese Taipei dominate the seedings in almost every event. Spoiling the clean sweep and having played to the semi-finals at the III Mexican International Challenge 2023, and fresh from the TOTALEnergies BWF Sudirman Cup Finals, Canada’s Nyl Yakura and Adam (Xingyu) Dong secure their place as 2nd seeds in the men’s doubles. Dong is in his second phase of competitive badminton, having given that part of his career up when he moved from his birthplace, China, to Canada as a teenager. As a junior in China, Dong reached top three nationally and won two silver medals at the China Junior Games. Nine years after his retirement and making the most of his second chance, he is back on the circuit, playing men’s doubles with partner and friend, Nyl Yakura.
Other notable entries include Sung Shuo Yu (TPE) in the women’s singles, carrying a world ranking of 32. Sung leads the field ahead of Sim Yu Jin from Korea as the 2nd seed who recently played the Osaka International Challenge, reaching the quarter finals. The women’s doubles feature two pairs from Chinese Taipei in the number 1 and 2 seeded positions. Hsu Ya Ching and Lin Wan Ching hold a current world ranking of 35 while country women Chang Ching Hui and Yang Ching Tun follow closely at 39 in the world.
Off the back of an appearance at the TOTALEnergies BWF Sudirman Cup Finals, mixed doubles pair and number 2 seed Adahm Hatem Elagamel and Doha Hany from Egypt will be looking to progress where they may face number 1 seeds from Chinese Taipei, Chang Co-Chi and Lee Chih Chen. Chang and Lee bowed out in round of 16 at the Orleans Masters Badminton in April 2023.
The Northern Marianas Islands is in the Oceania Confederation and has attracted a number of players from the region to this tournament; making history to host a tournament of this level. Looking to make an impression will be the winners of the recent VICTOR Oceania Championships and mixed doubles pair Kenneth Choo and Gronya Sommerville. As the only Australiana players to win a match at the recent TOTALEnergies BWF Sudirman Cup Finals against India, they will be striving for further success at the Northern Marianas Open as they look to earn valuable points towards Olympic qualification.
The M & Q for the Saipan International which is also a Grade 3 International Challenge level tournament with a similar entry to the Northern Marianas Open, has also been released.
Click HERE to view the Northern Marianas Open seeding report.
Photo credit: @badmintonphoto_official