Philippine badminton will receive a big boost as some of the top shuttlers in the world are set to come over for the Badminton Asian Team Championships 2020 slated next month.
The historic Rizal Memorial Coliseum will play host to the biennial event from February 11-16, which features the continent's best 12 countries.
Among those confirmed to attend are world no. 2 Tien Chen Chou of Chinese Taipei, no. 5 Anthony Ginting and no. 7 Jonatan Christie of Indonesia, no. 9 Ka Long Angus Ng of Hong Kong, and no. 10 Kanta Tsuneyama of Japan.
World no. 1 Kento Momota of Japan, however, will not be able to participate as he continues to recover from injuries sustained in a car accident in Malaysia recently.
The host country drew favorable match-ups in the draw held Wednesday afternoon at the Century Park Hotel, a stone's throw away from the playing venue.
The Philippine national teams are seeded ninth. The men's team was drawn in Group A along with top seed Indonesia and no. 5 India. On the other hand, it will be an all-Southeast Asian group for the distaff division as the Filipinas are slated to face Thailand and Indonesia, which are ranked fourth and fifth, respectively.
"This is going to be the first time that there will be so many top-ranked players who will be going to this tournament in the Philippines. These will be exciting times for the Philippines," said Philippine Badminton Association Pres. Alfredo Benitez.
The athletes, meanwhile, know that the opportunity presented to them should not be taken for granted.
"We need to prepare since we fell short in the SEA Games," said men's singles coach Ian Mendez. "We need to double time, triple time with our effort."
Benitez hopes that the high level of competition could in turn improve the country's performance. The Philippine delegations both fell short of a podium finish in the recently-concluded SEA Games.
The Team Championships also serve as a part of the Olympic qualifiers, which will award corresponding points to the participants. Moreover, the top four squads will qualify for the Thomas and Uber Cup Finals in Aarhus, Denmark from May 16-24.