** This NEW SHUTTLENWS REPORT is presented by badminton world champions YANG YANG (1987 and 1989) and ZHAO JIAN HUA (1991) and by YANG YANG BADMINTON PRODUCTS **

December 7, 1997 (NEW SHUTTLENWS) - The world's top badminton players are set to compete in the sport's top money event - the World Grand Prix Finals - which are being held this year in Jakarta, Indonesia. The tournament offers a total of 375,000 US dollars in prize money, the largest purse ever for a badminton competition.

Listed among the players who have qualified for the Finals after more than eleven months of participating in various international tournaments are the world number one in men's singles Peter Gade-Christensen of Denmark, the premier ladies' singles player Susi Susanti of Indonesia, the world's top men's doubles pair of Chandra Wijaya and Sigit Budiarto, world women's doubles champions Ge Fei and Gu Jun of China, and world mixed doubles champions Liu Yong and Ge Fei of China.

Also among the qualifiers are world men's singles champion Peter Rasmussen of Denmark, Olympic men's singles gold medalists Alan Budi Kusuma of Indonesia (1992) and Poul-Erik Hoyer-Larsen of Denmark (1996), and world women's singles champion Ye Zhaoying of China.

Ha Tae Kwon and Kang Kyung Jin of Korea qualified in men's doubles, but could not come to Jakarta because Kang is still recuperating from surgery for a chronic shoulder problem. Their withdrawal opened the door for an Indonesian pair, Hian Eng and Hermono, to play in the tournament of the world's best.

Mixed doubles Olympic gold medalist Kim Dong Moon and silver medalist Ra Kyung Min, both from Korea, also qualified, but will not be coming due to university examinations. A second Korean pair, Lee Dong Soo and Yim Kyung Jin, also earned an invitation to the Finals but Yim is in the same situation as Kim and Ra.

The Korean withdrawals in the mixed doubles allow England to have an entry in the year's top money tournament, with Chris Hunt and Donna Kellogg replacing Lee and Yim. Imam Tohari and Ema Ermawati of Indonesia are the replacements for Kim and Ra.

Korea's Lee Dong Soo though will be playing in the men's doubles with partner Yoo Yung Sung. Lee and Yoo are ranked number two in the world.

Countries represented in the 1997 World Grand Prix Finals are China, Denmark, England, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia and Sweden.

Canada narrowly missed out on being the ninth country in the prestigious event and on having North America's first qualifiers for a World Grand Prix Finals. Iain Sydie and Denyse Julien are ranked at number 11 in mixed doubles while invitees Hunt and Kellogg of England are at number ten.

The Finals will open up with a round-robin phase on Wednesday. The men's singles players have been pooled into four groups, as have the women's singles entries. The leaders of each group after the round-robin will move into the semifinals on Saturday and the semifinal winners will clash for the grand prizes on Sunday.

The men's doubles players have been grouped into two pools with the top two pairs in each pool moving ahead into the semifinals. The women's and mixed doubles competitions also follow this format.

The groupings for the round-robin phase (first player or pair listed in each group is the seed for the group):

Group A: Peter Gade-Christensen (Denmark), Luo Yigang (China), Budi Santoso (Indonesia), Alan Budi Kusuma (Indonesia)
Group B: Sun Jun (China), Heryanto Arbi (Indonesia), Thomas Stuer-Lauridsen (Denmark), Marleve Mainaky (Indonesia)
Group C: Dong Jiong (China), Peter Rasmussen (Denmark), Ardy Wiranata (Indonesia), Hendrawan (Indonesia)
Group D: Poul-Erik Hoyer-Larsen (Denmark), Hermawan Susanto (Indonesia), Indra Wijaya (Indonesia), Chen Gang (China)

Group A: Susi Susanti (Indonesia), Dai Yun (China), Zhang Ning (China).
Group B: Gong Zhichao (China), Marina Andrievskaya (Sweden), Zeng Yaqiong (China)
Group C: Ye Zhaoying (China), Yao Yan (China), Kim Ji Hyun (Korea)
Group D: Camilla Martin (Denmark), Mia Audina (Indonesia), Wang Chen (China)

Group A: Chandra Wijaya/Sigit Budiarto (Indonesia), Jon Holst-Christensen/ Michael Sogaard (Denmark), Cheah Soon Kit/Yap Kim Hock (Mas), Hermono/Hian Eng (Indonesia).
Group B: Lee Dong Soo/Yoo Yung Sung (Korea), Ricky Subagja/Rexy Mainaky (Indonesia), Deny Kantono/Antonius Irianto (Indonesia), Jens Eriksen/Jesper Larsen (Denmark)

Group A: Ge Fei/Gu Jun (China), Qiang Hong/Liu Lu (China), Indarti Isoliana/ Denyana Lomban (Indonesia), Haruko Matsuda/Yoshiko Iwata (Japan)
Group B: Qin Yiyuan/Tang Yongshu (China), Eliza Nathanael/Resiana Zelin (Indonesia), Liu Zhong/Huang Nanyan, Helene Kirkegaard/Rikke Olsen (Denmark)

Group A: Liu Yong/Ge Fei (China), Michael Sogaard/Rikke Olsen (Denmark), Trikus Heryanto/Minarti Timur (Indonesia), Imam Tohari/Ema Ermawati (Indonesia)
Group B: Jen Eriksen/Marlene Thomsen (Denmark), Bambang Suprianto/Rosalina Riseu (Indonesia), Sandiarto/Finarsih (Indonesia), Chris Hunt/Donna Kellogg (England)