** This NEW SHUTTLENWS report is supplied by YANG YANG BADMINTON SHUTTLES and their U.S.A. agents, CHIN SPORTS ( or 212-645-4142). **

February 11, 1997 (NEW SHUTTLENWS) - Olympic men's singles champion Poul-Erik Hoyer-Larsen has been seeded first at the four-star Indian Open badminton tournament that takes place in New Delhi this week, but this top-seeding may not do the Danish player any good. The Olympic champion has drawn the comebacking Indonesian ace Ardy Wiranata for his opening match and Hoyer will definitely need to be in good form early in this tourney if he is to fulfil his top billing.

The other men's singles seeds have relatively lighter opening assignments. Second-seed Hendrawan of Indonesia plays Jason Wong of Malaysia, while 1995 world champion Heryanto Arbi of Indonesia, seeded a joint 3-4, faces Rajeev Bagga of India. The Indonesian Dwi Aryanto, the other 3-4 seed, meets Gopichand of India.

Because there are only 20 entries in the men's singles event, only four players have been seeded.

The other events also have attracted small fields. The women's singles only has 14 entries led by Cindana of Indonesia, currently world-ranked in the low 20's, and Jo Muggeridge of England, world-ranked in the 30's. Cindana and Muggeridge are the only seeded women's singles players.

The men's doubles event only has a field of 12 pairs. Aras Razak and Hadi Sugianto of Indonesia are the top-seeds, while Yap Yee Hup and Yap Yee Guan from Malaysia have been picked second. Both pairs are world-ranked in the low 20's.

Tung Chau Man and Ng Ching of Hong Kong lead the 10-pair women's doubles field. Tung and Ng are world-ranked in the high teens. Tantri Etty and Cynthia of Indonesia, world-ranked in the 80's, are the second-seeds.

Only 10 pairs have been entered in the mixed doubles event. Top seeds are Indonesians Imam Tohari and Ema Ermawati. Ma Che Kong and Tung Chau Man of Hong Kong are the second seeds. Tohari and Ermawati are world-ranked in the teens, while Ma and Tung are not world-ranked at all as a pair (Ma is ranked in the 60's with Chan Mei Mei, and Tung is rated in the 20's with Tam Kai Chuen).

The small number of entries have been attributed to several factors. Many top players have chosen to rest and train for the more prestigious All-England Open slated for mid-March. Also, other players have elected to conform to the tradition of staying and celebrating with family during the Chinese New Year this past weekend as well as the Muslim Hariraya the early part of this week.

The dispute between the top Chinese players and the Chinese badminton association over the sharing of prize money has also affected the number of entries. The Chinese association, which retains 58% of the doubles prize money and 65% of the singles purses, is reported to have suspended many top players, including Olympic silver medalist Dong Jiong, after they asked for an increase in the player's share of the winnings. Because of this dispute, all of the Chinese entries at the Indian Open were pulled out.