Malaysia's top-ranked shuttler Lee Chong Wei won his fifth Badminton World Federation (BWF) Player of the Year Award and India's PV Sindhu bagged the Most Improved Player at the awards night in Dubai on 12 December.
Chong Wei trumped the likes of reigning Olympic champion Chen Long, Denmark's top-ranked shuttler Jan O Jorgensen and doubles pairing of Zhang Nan/Fu Haifeng (China), Goh V Shem/Tan Wee Kiong (Malaysia). Notably, Monday's award was his fifth Player of the Year title following his titles in in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2013.
The 34-year-old was in spectacular form winning two Superseries titles - Malaysia and Indonesia - before he head to Rio de Janeiro for the Olympic Games, in which he lost the Men's singles final to China's Chen.
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The world number one followed it up with a title in Japan before he slipped into an injury layoff. Chong Wei is now in Dubai for the World Superseries Finals, starting 14 December, in which he will battle with the likes of Jorgensen and Son Wan Ho for his fifth year-ending title.
On the other hand, Rio Olympic Women's singles silver medallist Sindhu said she was honoured but did not expect to win the award in Dubai. Notably, the 21-year-old carried forward her Olympic form and won her maiden Superseries title in China last month. She also reached the final of Hong Kong Open, in which she lost to top-ranked Women's singles player Tai Tzu Ying.
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Sindhu, who qualified for her maiden Badminton Superseries Finals, is drawn in Group B along with Olympic champion Carolina Marin and rising young shuttlers Sun Yu and Akane Yamaguchi.
"I did not expect to get this award, so I am excited and happy. It is good to be here in Dubai. It is my first time at the Dubai World Superseries Finals. My draw is tough, I am with Carolina, He Bingjiao and Sun Yu. I have to play well from the start (sic)," Sindhu said, at the Player's reception and gala dinner in Dubai, as quoted by BWF's official site.
Meanwhile, Japan's Misaki Matsutomo/Ayaka Takahashi won the Female Player of the Year award for winning the Olympic gold and four Superseries titles in the year.