.. Asian powerhouses confirm entries for NZ tournament Monday, 4 March, 2013 http://www.voxy.co.nz/sport/asian-powerhouses-confirm-entries-nz-tournament/5/148988 It appears the 2013 US$50,000 SKYCITY New Zealand Badminton Open has already been targeted by some of the best players in the world from some of the big badminton nations such as China, Indonesia, Malaysia and Japan with each country having at least 15 entrants each for the April 10-14 event to be held at the North Shore Events Centre. Entries still have just under two weeks before they close which means the aim of over 300 players gunning for the titles at the tournament is very much on target. It is expected that there will be a number of top 10 players in Auckland. Other nations who have players entered include Thailand, Chinese Taipei, India, Macau, Norway, Netherlands, Australia and New Zealand with a number of other countries to also come on board. The tournament sees a return of top badminton to New Zealand after the last event was held in 2011 as the Li-Ning New Zealand International Challenge. This year sees the event upgraded to a BWF World Grand Prix event, with prize-money of US$50,000 up for grabs. A Badminton World Federation Grand Prix tournament the New Zealand event, forms part of a three tournament swing through Oceania. It follows on from the Australian Badminton Open in Sydney - a Grand Prix Gold tournament, and precedes the Tahiti International. SKYCITY NZ Open Event Director, Julie Carrel has been at the US$120,000 German Open this week and is pleased with the interest in the Auckland event and the response from players so far. "I have spoken to a large number of players and they are really keen to come to the SKYCITY New Zealand Open. The indications are that we will have a really high calibre of badminton and some great entertainment on and off the court. The date for overseas entries is 15 March and I couldn’t be more pleased with the numbers we have so far. This event is going to be very strong across the board and will bring a real international flavour to sport in Auckland," says Carrel. "So far there’s been a good showing by the badminton community towards early ticket sales and now we have a bit more of an idea of the nation’s entering players we’re expecting that to flow on even more towards the good ticket sales." Tickets range from $6 to $35 with tournament packages from $58 and courtside hospitality from $75pp. There are also Finals Entertainment packages available which include accommodation, breakfast, transport to the venue and hospitality. http://www.eventfinder.co.nz/2013/skycity-new-zealand-badminton-open/auckland/wairau-valley The Auckland finals will be broadcast live into a number of Asian nations and will have a highlights package on Sky television in New Zealand. The SKYCITY New Zealand Badminton Open will be held from 10-14 April 2013 at the North Shore Events Centre, Auckland.