From Bitburger Open to the Olympics

From being a small tournament in the past where mainly Europeans were playing, Bitburger Open has now grown to a decent size tournament where even some of the best players in the world take part. Looking at some of the past winners, one will find that several Olympic champions and world champions have been in Saarbrücken in recent years.

A bit of history
Bitburger Open is a tournament that had many names in the past. It started in 1987 as an international anniversary tournament of the German club 1. BC Bischmisheim but already one year later BMW became sponsor and the name changed to BMW-Badmintonturnier, then BMW-Badminton-Cup and finally BMW Open International.

In 1996 the tournament was not held because the German Open took place in the same city, Saarbrücken. From 2003 the German brewery Bitburger Brauerei took over the sponsorship and the tournament still holds their name. Due to a corporation between the German, French and Luxembourgish badminton federations, the name changed to Bitburger SaarLorLux Open in 2006, but it is still known as just Bitburger Open today.

Best nations
It is not surprising that Germany is the nation with most titles at Bitburger Open. In the 27 editions of the tournament that has been held since the beginning in 1987 (there was no tournament played in 1996), Germany has taken no less that 48 of the 135 titles possible. That’s just slightly more than every third title.

Denmark is second-best nation with 26 titles and China, Holland and Indonesia following with 19, 10 and 9 titles respectively. What is interesting to notice is that 11 of the Chinese titles have been won from 2007 and onwards, and the winners include names like Li Xuerui and Tian Qing, who both won the Olympics, Zhang Nan and Zhao Yunlei who won both the Olympics and the World Championships, and Wang Yihan and Chen Long who have both won the World Championships.

Big names who take part in this year’s Bitburger Open are Chou Tien Chen from Chinese Taipei (who won the men’s single category the past three years), Tommy Sugiarto from Indonesia (who was in the final of Denmark Open two weeks ago), Marc Zwiebler from Germany and Hans-Kristian Vittinghus from Denmark.

Ratchanok Intanon, Thailand, is the favorite to win the women’s single category after the withdrawal from World Champion Carolina Marín from Spain. She will most likely have to battle with the Japanese Nozomi Okuhara and Akane Yamaguchi about the title in Saarbrücken this year.

12 titles for one player
The best players in the history of Bitburger Open – when counting the titles, that is – are not surprisingly from Gemany. The several times German Junior and Senior champion, Katrin Schmidt, won no less than 12 titles from 1987 to 1995. She made a hattrick in 1988 where she won all three categories she competed in, and her last three titles were all in women’s doubles with partner Kerstin Ubben from 1993 to 1995. Katrin Schmidt won a total of 4 women’s singles, 5 women’s doubles and 3 mixed doubles titles at Bitburger Open.

From 1992 to 2000 Michael Keck, also Germany, won 8 titles of which 3 were in men’s doubles and 5 in mixed doubles. Chinese-born German, Xu Huaiwen, is third with her 6 titles and together with the aforementioned Schmidt and Keck, she is the only one who ever won 5 titles of the same category – in Xu’s case this was in women’s singles.

Danes Mathias Boe and Carsten Mogensen along with Chou Tien Chen, Chinese Taipei, and Poland’s Robert Mateusiak are the players still being active who won the most titles – they all won Bitburger Open 3 times. However, with respect for their age and current stage of their careers, Chen and Mateusiak might be the only ones of the four who will still be able to increase the number of Bitburger titles and they are also the only ones of them who take part in this year’s tournament.

List of all winners
If you are curious to see how many titles the different players won at Bitburger Open, you can find a list right here.

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