JUNIOR stars Sarah Joy Barredo and Airah Mae Nicole Albo have signed up for the women’s singles competition of the P1.5 million Bingo Bonanza National Open badminton tournament starting on Dec. 11 at the Rizal Memorial Badminton Center.
Barredo, a double gold medal winner in the Philippine National Games, and fellow PBA Smash Pilipinas mainstay Albo battle other top players in the four-day championship including Mariya Angela Sevilla, Alyssa Geverjuan and Monica Arianne Rivera.
The men’s singles features Toby Gadi, Rabie Jayson Oba-ob, R-Jay Ormilla, Ros Pedrosa, Wilson Lopez II, Frell Gabuelo, Alexis Geverjuan and Emilio Mangubat Jr.
Focus will also be on Mark Shelley Alcala, who will vie for honors at home after besting the region’s top juniors in the Singapore Youth International last month.
The draw will be held on Friday, the schedule to be released on Sunday and the team managers, coaches and players meeting set on Tuesday at the Rizal Memorial Badminton Center.
Other events on tap in the tournament organized by EventKing Corp., sponsored by Bingo Bonanza and sanctioned by the Philippine Badminton Association are men’s and ladies doubles and the mixed doubles.
The National Open marks the return of the country’s premier gaming and amusement center as badminton’s chief backer. Bingo Bonanza used to stage badminton tournaments, including the Philippine Open in 2009 that lured some of the world’s premier players.
PBA secretary general Albee Benitez, however, said they are now focusing on putting up bigger national tournaments and have shelved plans of staging the more expensive international events to develop local players until they can really compete with the foreign aces.