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All-England: Ge Fei and Gu Jun Also Pull Out

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

March 10, 1999 (NEW SHUTTLENWS) - The world, Olympic and Grand Prix Finals women's doubles champions, Ge Fei and Gu Jun of China, have joined the list of top players who have pulled out of the one hundredth All-England Open badminton championships taking place this week in Birmingham, England. The duo who are undisputedly the best in their event over the past three years reportedly were injured during a local Chinese tournament in Beijing last week.

Sun Jun of China, the winner of the Grand Prix Finals men's singles title two weeks ago, had also withdrawn from the four-star tournament as had top Malaysians Yong Hock Kin and Ong Ewe Hock. Initial reports had indicated that Sun Jun had pulled put due to extreme fatigue. Tournament organizers today said that the official reason provided by the Chinese team was that Sun had hurt his back in the same Beijing competition where Ge Fei and Gu Jun had suffered their injuries.

Some of the players at the tournament familiar with Sun expressed the opinion the Chinese ace could have played even with a slight injury but that he may not have the motivation to play a top tournament so soon after having won the six-star Grand Prix Finals. These players also said that Sun's decision to pull out may have influenced Ge Fei and Gu Jun to also do the same. Sun Jun and Ge Fei are very close friends.

Marlene Thomsen, one of Denmark's top doubles players, has also pulled out of the tournament. Thomsen who is seeded fourth in women's doubles with Rikke Olsen and eighth in mixed doubles with Jens Eriksen reinjured her back during the Grand Prix Finals two weeks ago. She had originally been hurt in early January during a Danish premier division team competition.

Also out due to an injury sustained at the Grand Prix Finals is Eliza Nathanael of Indonesia. Eliza and partner Deyana Lomban were the second seeds.


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