THE sixth edition of the Smart National Open Badminton Tournament will take place from Nov. 17 to 22 at the Muntinlupa Sports Complex.

This time around, the tournament which is backed by the MVP Sports Foundation and Bali Pure will serve two purposes.

First off the tournament will serve as the final tune-up for the national team players before heading to the 2019 Southeast Asian Games later this year.

“To tell you honestly, we really want to get gold in the SEA Games. As a matter of fact, they are leaving for Malaysia this Sunday (yesterday),” said Philippine Badminton Association secretary-general Christopher Quimpo as the nationals also had camps in Indonesia and Australia early this year.

“Then when they get back, they will immediately play in the Open as it will serve as their final prep for the SEA Games.”

Headlining the event are national team players Ros Pedrosa, Lanz Zafra, Arthur Salvado, and Solomon Padiz for men’s singles; the men’s doubles teams of Peter Magnaye and Alvin Morada, and Joper Escueta and Paul Pantig; Sarah Barredo, Nicole Albo, Bianca Carlos, and Mika De Guzman for women’s singles; and the women’s double squads of Thea Pomar and Isay Leonardo, and Geva De Vera and Chanelle Lunod.

Moreover, the tournament will also serve as the test event for the SEAG as it will also take place at Muntinlupa Sports Complex.

For national team head coach Bogs Amahit, being able to get a feel of the venue and its flooring will be a huge advantage for the squad entering the biennial meet.

“We would like to thank the MVPSF for helping badminton and hosting this event. It will be a big help for the players to be familiarize with the venue before playing in the SEA Games,” said Mr. Amahit in Filipino.

“We can use homecourt advantage because of this,” he added.

Innovations for the tournament are the utilization of tablets for scoring and the activation of the service fault detection device, which is being used in international tournaments.

The federation hopes that all the sacrifices the national team has done will end up, not just with a SEAG medal, but also a Tokyo Olympics berth next year.

“For most of the year, you’ve probably haven’t heard much about Philippine badminton. It’s because we are dead set in winning gold in the SEA Games and, maybe, make it to the Olympics. We want our national athletes to excel not just here but also in the international scene,” shared Mr. Quimpo.