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World Class Entries For New Zealand Event

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

24 OCTOBER 2008 - The US$50,000 KLRC New Zealand Open badminton tournament looks set to have a top-class field with the confirmation of some key entrants for the November 11-15 Grand Prix event to be held at the North Shore Events Centre.

World No3 Zhou Mi representing Hong Kong, the defending champion will return after a year of great success. She won the recent Macau Open Gold Grand Prix, the China Masters Super-Series, the Indian Gold Grand Prix and the Korea Super-Series tournaments within the past 12 months.

When she won the 2007 KLRC New Zealand Open she was unseeded after returning from an injury and a two-year break which had changing nationality from China to Hong Kong.

She will be the top seed in the women's singles at the event next month and will be accompanied to New Zealand by her coach Hu Jie.

Two former men's singles winners of the tournament are also lined up to play. Sairul Amar Ayob of Malaysia who won in 2005 and Tsuen Seng Lee from Taipei the 2006 champion have confirmed their appearances. Ayob is currently ranked at 19 and Lee at 30 in the world.

A group of 53 Indonesians have also been entries. Badminton is the No1 sport in Indonesia and should see some exciting player from competitors such as Tommy Sugiarto who has a current world ranking of 38. The Indonesians will be strong in men's and women's doubles as well as the mixed competition.

"We are very happy with the standard of the players we have attracted to the 2008 KLRC New Zealand Open having players the calibre of Zhou Mi, Ayob and Lee returning is great coup for the tournament and a reflection on New Zealand that they want to win another title here. It's also a huge bonus having live television coverage into nations such as China, Indonesia and Malaysia, something which is not achieved very often for a New Zealand sporting event," say Julie Carrel, KLRC Tournament Director.

The KLRC New Zealand Open was in doubt at one stage through a lack of sponsorship, however Dato' Andrew Kam an entrepreneur who owns the Kuala Lumpur Rackets Club has come to the assistance of the tournament making sure New Zealand hosts one of only a handful of Grand Prix events around the world.

Mr Kam is also involved in a variety of charity work in his native Malaysia and has interests in a number of different sports and business ventures. He is currently the Honorary Legal Adviser to the Badminton World Federation.

The North Shore City Council is another major supporter of the event and worked hard to insure that the tournament would be held in 2008.

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