Badminton: England’s sudden inclusion of Ben Shawn causes a stir before the Olympics

Petaling Jaya: Beware of the underdog Ben Lin Chun Fendi of England.

National No. 1 men’s pair Aaron Chia-Suh and Wei Yek will not only have to monitor the top eight ranked pairs at the Tokyo Olympics debut, but several lower-ranked pairs are set to be spoilers, including Lin and Fendi, which they were. Inclusion of a last minute surprise.

World number 25 Lane-Fendi did not qualify for the Tokyo Olympics on merit, but England decided to choose the young pair over 2016 Rio Olympics bronze medalists Marcus Ellis-Chris Langridge.

According to BWF rules in doubles events, the top eight out of 16 automatically enter qualifiers, but for the others, they allow the country to name a lower ranked pair if warranted.

Ellis-Langridge lowered the Olympics as number 13 on the Road to Tokyo ranking list, assuring there was one slot for quotas but England had the right to either keep the first or choose another eligible pair ranked lower than them based on the current format in the tournaments.

According to a statement from the British Bibliotheca Alexandrina, “Ben and Sean with their impressive performances on the World Tour in January of this year qualified to become the first English men’s duo to reach the semi-finals of a World Tour Tour. They ranked 25th in the world, then went on to win the Orleans Masters event two months later.”

Ellis Langridge’s previous best performance was winning the 2020 Denmark Open, but that happened in the absence of many of the world’s top players.

The England move also enabled Ellis to focus only on mixed doubles with his girlfriend Lauren Smith in Tokyo. The duo have been fantastic on their way to reaching the All England semi-finals this year.

Malaysia coach Flande Lembele didn’t want to consider the England duo a big deal.

“England must have had the best reasons to choose the lowest-ranking pair. It must have been done for their good,” said Flande.

“All pairs, including Ben Xun, will be strong opponents for Aaron Wu Yi Yi. Nothing can be underestimated.

“It all really depends on Aaron-Wooi Yik on how they allow their opponents to influence them because I think everyone on the field has an equal chance of winning a medal.

“I will wait for the draw, but what I told our players was to play as if there were no more Olympics for them after that,” Flandi added.

World number 9 Aaron-Week will also have to be careful about Denmark’s Kim Astrup Anders Rasmussen.

The first eight pairs in Tokyo to have an equal chance of competing for medals are Indonesia’s Marcos Fernaldi, Kevin Sanjaya and Muhammed Ahsan Hendra Setiawan. Chinese Li Junhui-Liu Yuchen; Japanese Hiroyuki Endo – Yuta Watanabe, and Takeshi Kamura – Keijo Sonoda; Li Yang and Wang Chi Lin from Taiwan; South Korean Choi Seulgyu; Seo Seung Jae; The Indian Satwiksiraj Rankiridi Chirag Shetty.


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