The world fourth ranked woman shuttler Wang Shixian was left out of the London Olympic squad of China as dark horse Li Xuerui grabbed the ticket along with Wang Yihan and Wang Xin on Tuesday.
Women’s singles is the only Olympic badminton event in which China has four shuttlers qualified, however, according to Badminton World Federation rules, three must be chosen among the world top four.
Reigning world champion Wang Yihan secured an Olympic ticket by leading China to regain the Uber Cup in May. World No. 2 Wang Xin also staged a stable performance in the Uber Cup. Therefore the final ticket is considered to be given to either Wang Shixian or Li Xuerui.
The 21-year-old Li Xuerui, who is on a four-tournament winning streak in the past four months, is a relative newcomer to the traditional three “Wang”s echelon. She surpassed Wang Shixian in the world ranking to enter the top three recently.
Asian Games gold medalist Wang Shixian suffered a low tide since her shocking loss to German Juliane Schenk at last year’s Sudirman Cup opener. Since then, she was always knocked out in early stage of tournament and lost to Chinese team’s major rivals for 10 times in the Olympic qualifying period.
Chinese head coach Li Yongbo has emphasized the importance of the results against major rivals, hence Li beat Wang to enter the London Games at last.
However, Li lacks experience as she has never been in big events like Olympics and world championships before, but Wang Yihan and Wang Xin also have no Olympic experience.
Four years ago at the Beijing Games, Zhang Ning, the current coach of Chinese team, successfully defended her women’s singles title.
At the London Games, China’s three shuttlers will face numerous opponents, the number of which has doubled compared to the Beijing Games, namely India’s world No.5 Saina Nehwal, Germany’s Juliane Schenk, Danish veteran Tine Baun, South Korean Sung Ji Hyun and Thailand’s teenager Ratchanok Intanon.
In other four events, the star-studded Chinese squad has already been finalized. Superstar Lin Dan is in quest for a record second Olympic men’s singles title. Men’s double favorites Cai Yun/Fu Haifeng will also seek their first Olympic title.
The Olympic badminton competition takes place from 28 July to 5 August at Wembley Arena in north-west London.
The squad of Chinese badminton team is as followed:
Men’s singles: Lin Dan, Chen Long, Chen Jin
Women’s singles: Wang Yihan, Wang Xin, Li Xuerui
Men’s doubles: Cai Yun/Fu Haifeng, Chai Biao/Guo Zhendong
Women’s doubles: Yu Yang/Wang Xiaoli, Tian Qing/Zhao Yunlei
Mixed doubles: Zhan Nan/Zhao Yunlei, Xu Chen/Ma Jin