Big results are what Tsuneyama needs to join Momota in Tokyo (Photo: Badminton Photo)
The fight for a place in Tokyo is getting interesting
Date: 9/27/2019 3:37 PM
Published by : Alan Raftery
Badminton fans and players are eagerly looking towards the end of April 2020, when the qualification to the Tokyo Olympic Games will be settled with the publishing of the BWF Ranking list. 

The list will provide a total of 16 pairs in each doubles event, and an initial allocation of 38 players in each singles event. But in order to be in contention, the fight is now. 

With seven months to go in the qualification year, we take a took at the tight battles for a seat on the plane already brewing. 

Women’s singles
Thailand in recent years have produced many great young talents and this is reflected in the battle for a place in Tokyo. Ratchanok Intanon, bronze medallist at this year’s World Championships, is perhaps safe, currently in sixth place. However, not too far behind in fifteenth and sixteenth place are Pornpawee Chochuwong and Busanan Ongbamrungphan who are fighting for that second spot in Tokyo. 

Interestingly, two Thai ladies who perhaps have had more experience at a higher level and have spent time in the top ten, are further down the ranking. Nitchaon Jindapol is twenty-seventh and Porntip Buranaprasertsuk forty-third, although their trajectories are positive, and we may well see them pushing to join Intanon at the Olympics early 2020. 

It is without question that all nations would love the chance to have two representatives in each event. For this to happen you need both players to be in the top sixteen. Denmark are working on this in the women’s singles, with Mia Blichfeldt already in twelfth and Line Hojmark Kjaersfeldt in twenty-second. At the end of July, Kjaersfeldt reached the special sixteenth spot and therefore knows it can be done. 

Men’s singles
As mentioned above, it is fantastic to have two players in the top sixteen. However, if you have more than two, it is always tough because it means that a high ranked player will not make the Olympics. Japan has such a situation with Kento Momota cemented as number one with Kenta Nishimoto and Kanta Tsuneyama twelfth and fifteenth respectively. This means that Tsuneyama, who has had high profile victories against Lin Dan and Viktor Axelsen, would miss out. At each tournament from now they will have one eye on each other’s results until April 2020.

For the full Tokyo 2020 qualification rankings, click here. 

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