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** This NEW SHUTTLENWS report is presented by YANG YANG Badminton Products and their Western USA agents BADMINTON ALLEY. **

February 12, 1999 (NEW SHUTTLENWS) - For badminton enthusiasts in the central and southern parts of the province of Ontario in Canada and perhaps in western New York and eastern Michigan, all roads this weekend lead to the Skydome in Toronto. The 50,000-seat domed sports arena, home to the twice World Series champion Toronto Bluejays major league baseball team, is playing host for today and the next two days to a badminton spectacular, the likes of which the sport has not seen in the two Americas, and even perhaps the western half of the world.

From Friday to Sunday - February 12 to 14, the under-21 national teams of Canada, the Netherlands, and the United States of America will be competing against each other for the Friendship Cup. The Canadians and the Americans will also be vying with each other for the Devlin Cup and the distinction of being the best under-21 badminton team in North America.

The competition for the two cups runs from 7 to 10 on Friday and Saturday evenings and 5 to 8 on Sunday evening, with the teams playing in a round-robin format. Each team match will consist of seven individual matches: two men's singles, a men's doubles, two women's singles, a women's doubles, and a mixed doubles. The team that wins at least four of the individual matches wins the team match.

Canada has been the top dog in Devlin Cup play for many years, but, according to sources familiar with the players, the American side is quite strong this time around and could take the Devlin Cup away from the Canadians.

A Legends exhibition match will precede the team competition on each of the three days. The exhibition, which is slated to start at 6 in the evening on Friday and Saturday and at 4 on Sunday afternoon, will star Olympic silver medalist Ardy Wiranata of the United States of America. Wiranata, formerly of Indonesia, is now the playing coach of the senior American squad. He will be trading smashes with Kevin Han, the reigning Pan-American and U.S.A. men's singles champion.

A fanfest similiar to those found at the top-tier National Badminton Association (NBA) and Major League Baseball All-Star weekends also forms part of the badminton spectacular. Badminton clinics, equipment demonstrations, and interclub challenge matches will precede the evening action. The clinics and equipment demonstrations will start at 10 in the morning and run to 2 in the afternoon on Friday and Saturday. The challenge events will then take place and finish at 6 in the evening, followed by the Wiranata-Han matches.

On Sunday, the challenge matches will begin at 12 noon.

Also taking place at the Skydome this weekend is an Asian festival celebrating the Chinese New Year. Dragon dances, Chinese acrobats, Oriental arts and craft exhibits, and Oriental cuisine are among those that are on tap at the Skydome. The badminton extravaganza is a major part of the Asian festival.

Admission to the Asian festival is 10 Canadian dollars. More than 200,000 people are expected to visit the Skydome, celebrate the Chinese New Year, and watch all or part of the badminton action over the three days of the festival.


Posted With The Permission Of The Copyright Holder.

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