By Michael Angelo S. Murillo
Senior Reporter

THE Badminton Asia Manila Team Championships 2020 happening in the country next month took further form on Wednesday with the official draw of the groupings.

Held at the Century Park Hotel in Pasay City, the international badminton event from Feb. 11 to 16 will see four groups of three teams each competing in the initial phase for both the men’s and women’s division.

The event marks the first time since 2001 that the Philippines will be hosting an Asian championships in badminton.

Competition is expected to be tight as up for grabs are Olympic qualifying points for the Tokyo Games later this year.

Competing teams/nations for the tournament are China, Hong Kong (China), Indonesia, India, Japan, Kazakhstan, Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Chinese Taipei.

For the men’s side, tournament top seed and defending champion Indonesia is in Group A, joined by India and the Philippines.

China, Thailand and Hong Kong are in Group B; Chinese Taipei, Malaysia and Singapore in Group C, and Japan, Korea and Kazakhstan in Group D.

In the women’s side, top seed and defending champion Japan is Group W along with Malaysia and Hong Kong.

Group X has Korea, India and Kazakhstan; Group Y has Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines; and Group Z has China, Chinese Taipei and Singapore.

Tournament format has the teams playing a single round robin in group play (three singles and three doubles) with the top two teams advancing to the knockout quarterfinals. The semifinals and finals follow.

“We welcome the hosting of this prestigious tournament. I think this is the first time that a lot of top-ranked players are going here to compete. Hopefully with this tournament more Filipinos would be inspired to pick up the sport,” said Alfredo Benitez, Smash Pilipinas president, during the official draw.

The Badminton Asia Team Championships is presented by Smart, Li-Ning, MVP Sports Foundation, TV5, Cignal, Smart Pilipinas and Leisure & Resorts World Corporation.

It will be played at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.