Kampala, Feb 8 (IANS) Sri Lankan player Niluka Karunaratne will defend his men's singles title at the Uganda International Badminton Open Championship scheduled Feb 21-24 here.
Simon Mugabi, Uganda Badminton Association (UBA) chief executive officer (CEO), said Thursday that Karunaratne, who also participated in the London Olympics and is currently ranked 39th in the world, will be here for the event, reports Xinhua.
"The Sri Lanka player has confirmed his participation while Jeannine Cicognini from Switzerland will not defend the women's title," said Mugabi. He said although they are still zeroing in on sponsors to support the event, all is getting on well and the draws will be made next week.
Other nations - including Nigeria, Germany, Hungary, Scotland, Italy, India, Mauritius, Egypt and Kenya - will send players for the tournament. Uganda's top player Edwin Ekiring had indicated he could skip the event but made a last-minute entry.
Ekiring, currently ranked 117th, represented the country in the last two Olympics. He will have to work harder against top world players.
Uganda's top women's player Shamim Bangi, who fell out at the quarter-final stage of the Cyprus International last month, will also have to work hard against Africa's top player Grace Gabriel of Nigeria and Kate Fookune from Mauritius.
The tournament will see singles and doubles action.