World champions Lin Dan and Lu Lan, along with former Olympic champion Taufiq Hidayat and the pride of India, Saina Nehwal, will be the star attractions in the $150,000 Yonex Sunrise badminton Asia championship to be staged at the Siri Fort Stadium here from April 12 to 18.

Addressing the media here on Thursday, President of the Badminton Association of India (BAI) V.K. Verma said the second biggest tournament in the world, after the World championship, would be an excellent opportunity for Delhi to showcase its preparedness for the Commonwealth Games.

Having hosted the World championship in Hyderabad and the World junior championship in Pune, it was mentioned that every effort would be made to help the Indian Open grow in stature over the next few years and gain a certain standing in the world of badminton, like the All England championship.

Big field

As many as 334 players from 21 countries are scheduled to compete in the championship, which was first held in Lucknow in 1965 in which Dinesh Khanna became the Asian champion.

The field will also feature Ponsana Boonsak of Thailand, and former Asian junior champion Chen Long in the men's section, which will have Chetan Anand spearheading the Indian challenge.

The Manchester Commonwealth Games champion and runner-up of the last edition of the Indian Open, Hashim Mohammad Hafiz of Malaysia will also be seen in action in the tournament which is expected to feature eight of the world's top 20 men players in the singles draw.

Top four in action

In the women's section, four of the world's top 10 will be in action, headed by World No. 5 Saina Nehwal. World champion Lu Lan of China, Zhou Mi of Hong Kong who had won the bronze in the Athens Olympics, apart from Wang Shixian of China have confirmed their entries along with Maria Kristin Yulianti of Indonesia, the Beijing Olympics bronze medallist.

The qualifying rounds will be held on April 12 and 13.

Bookmyshow.com has been identified as the official ticketing agency for the tournament.

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