July 5 (Reuters) - Olympics men’s singles gold medallist Chen Long of China will be the only defending champion in any of the five categories at this year’s Games after the Badminton World Federation (BWF) released its final list of qualifiers on Monday.
The sport’s global governing body said 87 men and 86 women representing 50 National Olympic Committees from five continental confederations had been picked for the rescheduled Games, which begin on July 23.
Denmark’s Viktor Axelsen, India’s PV Sindhu, Japan’s Nozomi Okuhara and the Malaysian pairing of Chan Peng Soon and Goh Liu Ying are the other returning medallists.
In the women’s doubles, South Korea’s Rio 2016 bronze medallist Shin Seungchan teams up with new partner Lee Sohee.
Spain’s Olympic women’s singles champion Carolina Marin will not defend her crown due to a knee injury.
Badminton’s Olympic rankings were frozen in May with the BWF saying that no further qualifying tournaments will take place before the Games due to COVID-19.
The Malaysian Open and Singapore Open were among several events scrapped due to travel complications amid the pandemic.
The draw for the badminton competition at the Tokyo Games will be held at the National Badminton Centre in Milton Keynes, England on Thursday. (Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru, editing by Ed Osmond)