Sport360 looks back at last year’s Super Series action and picks out six star shuttlers.
What do you make of our picks?
LEE CHONG WEI (MALAYSIA)
World No1 Lee Chong Wei is one of the greatest badminton players of all time and continues to capture the imagination of the millions of fans who follow the sport worldwide.
The 34-year-old had another solid year in 2016, sealing victories in Malaysia, Indonesia and Japan.
The Malaysian would have liked to have finished his year on a winning note but he was beaten by Viktor Axelsen in the semi-finals in Dubai.
JAN JORGENSEN (DENMARK)
Despite securing only one winner’s trophy this year, Jorgensen finished top of the Destination Dubai Rankings for his consistent displays throughout the campaign.
The Dane’s win over Chen Long in the China Open final brought plenty of confidence as it was only his second victory over the former world number one at the 11th time of asking.
He also reached finals in Indonesia and Japan but suffered defeats to Chong Wei on both occasions – a player he is only beaten once in 18 matches.
VIKTOR AXELSEN (DENMARK)
Considered by many as the next generation of badminton superstars, Axelsen finished the season on a positive note after winning the Dubai World Superseries Finals – his first Superseries crown in seven attempts.
The 23-year-old sensationally knocked out Chong Wei in the semis before beating Tian Houwei in the decider.
He reached the final in India in April but lost in straight sets to Kento Momota.
With the new season commencing in just two months, this will prove to be a seminal year for the big Dane.
TAI TZU-YING (CHINA TAIPEI)
The best player on the women’s circuit, Tai Tzu Ying, had a phenomenal year with successes in India, Hong Kong and Dubai.
She also reached finals at Malaysia and Denmark but was beaten by Ratchanok Intanon and Akane Yamaguchi respectively.
The Chinese Taipea shuttler plays with a consistency and pace which is frightening and will be bidding to continue her sparkling form when the new season resumes.
PV SINDHU (INDIA)
An impressive year for the rising star. Sindhu cruised to the China Open title and finished second in Hong Kong, where she lost to Tzu-Ying.
Her performances in Dubai were outstanding, and although she was beaten in the semi-finals against Sung Ji-hyun, the Indian sensation can take major confidence from her sheer class and determination.
With a large Indian population living in the UAE, the court at Hamdan Sports Complex is like a home away from home for the 21-year-old Hyderabad native.
RATCHANOK INTANON (THAILAND)
The former world number one had a sensational start to the season, winning three out of the opening four tournaments, but then injury curtailed virtually the entire second-half of her year.
The Thai star was forced to pull out of Japan, Korea, France and Hong Kong due to a knee tendon issue.
In Dubai, the 21-year-old failed to reach the knock-out stages after losing her three group games, but warrants a place on the list due to her majestic first half of the season.
The Badminton World Federation (BWF) announced on Wednesday that it has taken up the offer from Dubai Sports Council to all Summer Olympic International Federations to set up a regional office within its headquarters at Dubai Design District.
The announcement of the opening of the BWF and Badminton Asia Regional Office followed the official admission of the UAE Table Tennis and Badminton Association as the 187th member of the BWF.
Dawood Al Hajri, President of the UAE Table Tennis and Badminton Association said: “The BWF’s decision to officially recognise the UAE Table Tennis and Badminton Association as a member of the Federation is hugely significant.
“This move indicates the growing profile of the Dubai World Superseries Finals and the emirate’s badminton offering as a whole.”
Saeed Hareb, Secretary General of the Dubai Sports Council, added: “Dubai’s geographical location, global connectivity, state-of-the-art infrastructure and tradition of hospitality make it the ideal setting to convene the world of sport.
“As such, we are delighted to see BWF and Badminton Asia use the emirate as a gateway to Asia and look forward to working alongside them both to extend the benefits of badminton to the continent and right across the world.”
Poul-Erik Hoyer, President of the Badminton World Federation said: “We thank Dubai Sports Council for their generosity and look forward to building on the fantastic relationship badminton already enjoys with the emirate.”
Axelsen, 22, dug deep in an epic third set to prevail 21-14, 6-21, 21-17 as the men’s singles reached a dramatic conclusion and made up for his defeat to Japan’s Kento Momota in the same season-ending event last year.
Edging an incredible 52-shot rally against his tireless Chinese opponent while 17-16 up during the deciding stanza was to prove key to the 2010 BWF World Junior Championships winner tasting success at the seventh time of asking in Superseries showpieces.
For Axelsen, he was overjoyed to finish off in style a breakthrough year which has also included historic victory with his nation at May’s Thomas Cup and rise to no.4 in the global rankings.
Watch the Dane’s video action to his triumph above.
This was in contrast to world no.1 Tai Tzu-ying’s 37-minute stroll to reclaiming her Hamdan Sports Complex crown. The 2014 women’s singles winner from Chinese Taipei breezed past a tired Sung Jihyun of South Korea – drained by Saturday’s semi-final battle against India’s Rio 2016 Olympic silver medallist PV Sindhu – by 21-14, 21-13.
Meanwhile, humble women’s champion Tai credited “fate” for her dominance in Dubai.
The 22-year-old simply kept the shuttlecock in play and watched her jaded competitor commit a series of fatal errors.
“It was fate to win this title for a second time,” said Tai.
“I had played against Sung already in the group stage and lost. I learned from that experience.
“Games against Sung are normally very intense, so I was quite surprised that it was smoother than usual.”
Elsewhere, China scooped two doubles golds on Sunday.
It was a special day for teenager Chen Qingchen as she claimed both women’s and mixed doubles crowns to take her 2016 title tally to six – which is more than any other player.
She teamed-up with Jia Yifan in the women’s event, downing Japanese Olympic gold medallists and world No1 pairing Misaki Matsutomo and Ayaka Takahashi in a tense three-game match (21-15, 13-21, 21-17).
Only a matter of hours later, the 19-year-old then linked up with Zheng Siwei to see off England’s defending champions Chris Adcock and Gabrielle Adcock by 21-12, 21-12.
After her Dubai double, Chen revealed that she plans to buy a car for her father from the two winners’ cheques of $84,000which she will split between Jia and Zheng.
“I am super grateful and thankful for both of my partners who helped keep me motivated on court,” the Chinese shuttler said.
In the men’s doubles final, Malaysian duo Goh V Shem and Tan Wee Kiong took the title with a brisk 40-minute 21-14, 21-19 success over Japan’s top two Takeshi Kamura and Keigo Sonoda.
It was the pair’s third title of 2016, adding to their wins in India and Denmark, as well as their Olympic silver medals in Rio.
“It’s an unbelievable feeling, we have finally achieved our targets this year – it’s been an amazing year for us,” said an overjoyed Shem after his latest success.