As many as 206 male and 96 female badminton players will compete at the International Ciputra Hanoi-Vietnam Challenge 2011 from March 29 to April 3.

This announcement has been made by head of badminton section of Hanoi Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, Duong Thi Lien.

They come from domestic and foreign teams such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Chinese Hongkong, Chinese Taipei, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Singapore, Thailand, Russia, South Africa and Nigeria.

Malaysia alone send 62 athletes, Chinese Taipei, 38.

At the same event which has the endorsement of the World Badminton Federation and Asia Badminton Confederation held last year, it drew 260 athletes from 15 teams.

According to Lien, there are many players taking part in this event. It means this event begins to have a large attraction.

"This year, badminton players are preparing for the qualifying round of London Olympics 2012 so partaking many events will not only help athletes gain skills and experience but also help them add points to secure places to Olympics," said Lien.

Nguyen Tien Minh, Vietnam's top badminton star and world No 8 will not participating in the competition as he is now competing on bigger tours. However, the host will show off a squad of youngsters such as Pham Hoang Nam, Le Ha Anh, Vu Thi Trang, Thai Thi Hong Gam.

In preparation for this event, Hanoi Badminton Federation invited 60 domestic and nine international referees to run the tourney.

As planned, the draw will be conducted on March 22 by the Asian Badminton Federation. It will be based on the latest ranking table of the World Badminton Federation.

The annual event has a top prize of 15,000 USD awarded in the men's and women's singles and doubles and mixed doubles categories./.