MVP CUP 2 to again feature Top Players from Asia and Europe

June 1, 2006, Manila, Philippines – IMG today announced that the second edition of the MVP Cup—which is a selection of top players from Europe taking on a selection from Asia—will take place in Manila from July 14 – 16, 2006. The Asian Badminton Confederation (ABC) and the European Badminton Union (EBU) will field All-Star teams to compete against each other for USD 100,000 in prize money—an increase from the USD 80,000 on offer last year. The event will feature an elite group of Asian players vs their compatriots from Europe in a unique format of matches over the 3-day period. The MVP Cup last year marked the first direct collaboration between 2 continental confederations in the sport of badminton; it is pitted to be an annual “Ryder Cup” type of event for the sport of badminton.

The MVP Cup will once again officially be called, “The MVP Cup presented by PLDT and Smart” and is jointly organized by the Asian Badminton Confederation (ABC), the European Badminton Union, the Philippine Badminton Association (PBA), and International Management Group (IMG). PBA President, Mrs. Amelita Ramos thanked the organizers for holding this prestigious new event to the Philippines. “The Philippine Badminton Association is proud to be the host venue of the MVP Cup. The event brings a tremendous opportunity for the PBA to gain experience in staging a major international badminton event. We also hope that in seeing and competing against the world’s top badminton players, our National players and future stars will be inspired to increase their level of competition in the future.” Kennivic and Kennie Asuncion will be participating for the Asian team in the Mixed Doubles category.

Similar to the IBF’s Sudirman Cup event, the MVP Cup is a mixed team competition featuring the top players from Asia playing against the top players from Europe. Each team will consist of the following players:

• 2 x Men’s Singles
• 2 x Ladies’ Singles
• 1 x Men’s Doubles Team
• 1 x Ladies’ Doubles Team
• 1 x Mixed Doubles Team

However, one major difference between this event and the Sudirman Cup is that the MVP Cup will provide prize money, whereas the Sudirman Cup does not. This year’s MVP Cup will offer USD 100,000 in total prize money with the top team being awarded the largest prize in badminton, USD 60,000. The losing team will receive USD 40,000. As each team will consist of a maximum of 10 players, this prize will be quite significant. “Last year’s event proved that we can compete with the best in the world. Following our performance at the 4* Philippine Open last weekend, we feel we can once again help Asia to keep the MVP Cup this year,” exclaimed Kennivic Asuncion upon receiving word that he and sister Kennie will be representing the Philippines as Asia’s Mixed Doubles pair.

In keeping with a Ryder Cup-style event, the format of the MVP Cup, also differs from any other badminton event in that there are points for each match which escalate in value as the event moves forward. There are a total of 9 matches, 3 on each day from July 14 – 16. Each match on the first day will be worth 1 point, second day 2 points and third day 3 points. This means that the 3 matches on the third day will be the key for each team in taking home the MVP Cup. On the 3rd day, there will be matches where the team captains can select players on that morning which will create major interest on the Final day. “We are allowed only 2 men’s and ladies’ singles players on the team, however there are 3 men’s/ladies’ singles matches; this means that we will have to carefully evaluate the play of our singles players over the first two days and field the one which we think is in better form for the all-important 3rd singles matches on the final day,” explained Team Captain of Asia, Bang Soo Hyun.

Datuk Punch Gunalan, Deputy President of the IBF indicated, “The player field of the MVP Cup will be of such a high-quality that every match will be just like the finals of any other event.” Both teams are undergoing the process of confirming their players; those confirmed so far are as follows:

Europe

Asia

Team Captain:

Martijn van Dooremalen

Bang Soo Hyun

Team Manager:

Brian Agerbak

Pullela Gopichand

Men’s Singles:

Kenneth Jonassen

Taufik Hidayat

Ladies’ Singles:

Mia Audina Tjiptawan

Wang Chen

Mixed Doubles:

Tomas Layborn/Kamilla Juhl

Kennie/Kennevic Asuncion

“We are happy that the Philippines is the host of the MVP Cup on an annual basis. Last year we were treated well and the crowd was great. We hope that the Philippine public will give the event and its stars the outstanding support it has given badminton in the past,” indicated European Team Manager, Brian Agerbak. He added, “Our team is complete, but we’ll announce the remainder of our members in a week or two when the ABC announces theirs.”

Last year’s event was action packed with the Asian Team taking a 3 – 0 lead on day 1 with wins from Zhang Ning over Mia Audina Tjiptawan, Taufik Hidayat over Anders Boesen and the Malaysian Men’s Doubles Chan/Koo over Robertson/Robert Blair from England. Day 2 saw Europe coming back within 1 point even though German #1 player Bjoern Joppien lost to world #1 Lin Dan, they had victories from Pi Hongyan of France over Seo Yoon Hee of Korea, and Mia/Gail Emms over Saralee/Sathinee of Thailand in ladies’ doubles to pull within 5 – 4. Europe took the lead on the final day with a mixed doubles victory by world #1 pair of Nathan Robertson/Gail Emms over local favorites Kennie/Kennevic Asuncion, but Asia proved too strong in the 3rd singles with Zhang Ning taking out Yao Jie of the Netherlands and Lin Dan beating Anders Boesen for an 11 – 8 final score.

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