By Kristel Satumbaga
The Philippine Badminton Association-Smash Pilipinas unveils its program this year by hosting the Badminton Asia Team Championships 2020 at the Rizal Memorial Coliseum next month.
The tournament will be held on Feb. 11 to 16 where 12 teams each from the men’s and women’s divisions are participating.
The event serves as a qualifier to the Thomas and Uber Cup 2020 scheduled on May 16 to 24 in Aarhus, Denmark where four slots are at stake in the men’s and women’s divisions.
The PH men’s team is bracketed in Group A along with top seed Indonesia and No. 5 India, while the PH women’s squad plays Southeast Asian rivals Thailand and Indonesia in Group Y following draw results held Wednesday at the Century Park Hotel.
Comprising the men’s division are China, Thailand and Hong Kong in Group B; Chinese Taipei, Malaysia and Singapore in Group C; and second seed Japan, Korea and Kazakhstan in Group D.
Seeing action in the women’s category are top seed Japan, Malaysia and Hong Kong in Group W; Korea, India and Kazakhstan in Group X; and second seed China, Chinese Taipei and Singapore in Group Z.
“We are trying to elevate the international standard of our players through hosting this tournament,” said PBA-Smash Pilipinas President Albee Benitez, adding that the exposure also hopes to upgrade the skills of our players by going up against the best athletes in the region.
The teams will undergo a round robin in the preliminaries with the Top 2 squads from each group advancing to the knockout quarterfinals. Three singles and two doubles matches are on line for each matchup.
Men’s coach Ronald Magnaye and women’s mentor Ian Mendez are optimistic, adding the event serves as a good exposure for the players.
The Philippines failed to get a medal in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games against world class rivals.
Competing for the PH men’s team are Philip Escueta, Peter Magnaye, Alvin Morada, Solomon Padiz Jr., Paul John Pantig, Ros Leonard Pedrosa, Arthur Salvado, and Lanz Zafra.
The PH women’s team is composed of Aira Albo, Sarah Joy Barredo, Mikaela De Guzman, Joella De Vera, Alyssa Leonardo, Chanelle Lunod, Maria Bianca Ysabel Carlos, and The Marie Pomar.