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    Badminton....and Chinese players on Wednesday (22 Feb) dominated the court on the opening day of?

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    Badminton....and Chinese players on Wednesday (22 Feb) dominated the court on the opening day of the World Badminton Invitation Championships being played in Hong Kong. 17 Asian and African countries are competing in the five day tournament.

    SYNOPSIS: The championship was originally billed as the inaugural tournament for the breakaway World Badminton Federation, formed by some Asian and African countries following disputes with the rival IBF last year over China's admission.

    But the championships are now under the sponsorship of the Hong Kong Badminton Association rather than the WBF. The move is an attempt to avoid conflict between the rival groups. (SEQ 1-2)
    China completely outclassed their opponents in the first round of play and look set to make a clean sweep of all titles. All the Chinese players in the men's singles event advanced easily into the next round.

    China's dominance is partly helped by the absence of the highly regarded players from Malaysia, Indonesia, and Japan who are staying away for fear of being banned from IBF events. (SEQ 3)
    In one of the most closely fought duels, Pakistan's Naeem Ahmed was brought to three deuces in the second set, before being able to overhaul his nimble opponent from the Democratic Republic of Korea to win 15-8, 18-17. (SEQ 4)
    In the women's singles, in which only eight players are competing, China's national champion won easily through to the quarter finals.

    Other countries to win a place in second round events include Sri Lanka, Singapore, Thailand and the Philippines. (SEQ 5-6)

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    Reuters - Source to be Verified
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    Available on request
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