Chong Wei creates history as Asian shuttlers sweep BWF Awards
Asian badminton players, led by World No 1 Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia, made a clean sweep of the major awards in the Player of the Year Awards during the Players' Reception and Gala Dinner held at the Armani Hotel in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, on Monday.
Chong Wei's three Superseries titles this year - the Axiata Celcom Malaysia Open, the BCA Indonesia Open and the Yonex Japan Open, plus the silver medal in the men's singles in the Rio de Janeiro Olympics made the Malaysian an obvious choice for the Best Male Player of the Year for the fifth time = the most won by a player.
The 34-year-old from Penang was also a winner of the Award in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2013. In winning the award Chong Wei brushed aside other nominees for the award, including compatriots Goh V Shem-Tan Wee Kiong (men's doubles), Denmark's Jan O Jorgensen, China's Rio Olympics gold medallist Chen Long and his compatriots Fu Haifeng-Zhang Nan (men's doubles).
The award would not have come at a better time for Chong Wei who is also gunning for his fifth title in the season ending finale in the BWF World Superseries Finals which begin at the Hamdan Sports Complex in Dubai on Wednesday.
Chong Wei won the Superseries Finals title in Dubai. He won in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2013. He is drawn in Group B together with Son Wan-ho of South Korean. Hong Kong's Angus Ng Ka Long and Denmark's Viktor Axelsen.
Japan's and world No 1 women's doubles pair Misaki Matsutomo-Ayaka Takahashi bagged the Best Female Player of the Year Award. The Japanese won the gold medal in the Rio Olympics apart from winning four Superseries titles this year - Yonex All England. BCA Indonesia Open, Yonex Sunrise India Open and Yonex Denmark Open.
It is a historic first for the winners as this is the first time Japan won this award. The Japanese defeated other nominees - Christinna Pedersen-Kamilla Rhytter Juhl of Denmark (women's doubles), Thailand's former world champion Ratchanok Intanon and Japan's Nozomi Okuhara.
Asia also swept two other awards - the Most Improved Player Award which went to India's Rio Olympics women's singles silver medallist P.V. Sindhu and the Most Promising Player of the Year Award through China's rising star Chen Qingchen.
It did not stop at that for Asia. Malaysia's Woon Khe Wei, who plays in the women's doubles with Vivian Hoo, walked away with the Best Dressed Award in the women's category. The male category award went to Denmark's Viktor Axelsen.
Best Male Player of the Year: Lee Chong Wei (Malaysia)
Best Female Player of the Year: Misaki Matsutomo-Ayaka Takahashi (Japan)
Most Improved Player Award: P.V. Sindhu (India)
Best Dressed Award (Women's category): Woon Khe Wei (Malaysia)
Best Dressed Award (Men's category): Viktor Axelsen (Denmark)