The dates of the 2000 edition of the prestigious World Grand Prix Finals have now been fixed as 28 March to 1 April this year, although two of badminton’s living legends have confirmed that they will not be at the event.

Confirming newspaper reports following the Sydney Games, Ge Fei and Gu Jun, two-times Olympic gold medallists and winners of the WGPF title for the past six years on the trot, have confirmed their retirement from the international scene and will not be competing at this year’s event.

Teammate Qin Yiyuan, who qualified with Gao Ling for IBF”s premier prize money event, is also reported to have hung up her rackets and will not play at the event at the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium, Brunei.

England”s hopes of a WGPF title have taken a dent, as Joanne Goode won’t be playing in either the women’s or mixed doubles events with Donna Kellogg and Simon Archer due to her pregnancy, which was announced at the end of November.

As a result of these withdrawals, Etty Tantri/Cynthia Tuwankotta, Mette Schjoldager/Ann-Lou Jorgensen and Haruko Matsuda/Yoshiko Iwata have received invites to the women’s doubles event, and Indonesia’s Bambang Suprianto/Zelin Resiana have been called up to replace Archer and Goode in the mixed doubles.

Royal Brunei Airlines has been confirmed as the official carrier for the World Grand Prix Finals, and the 6* event boasts a minimum prize fund of $250,000, as well as offering considerable world ranking points which will help towards a good chance of a seeding at the World Championships and Sudirman Cup competitions in May and June.

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