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Women’s doubles preview: A change for the history books?

For more than 20 years, Chinese players have dominated the women’s doubles at the BWF World Championships.

Not since 1995 has another nation taken the crown, Gil Young-ah and Jang Hye-ock of Korea triumphing on that occasion.

But 2017 could be the year another chapter of the story is written.

Because while China continues to dominate the top ten of the world rankings with three pairs currently placed eighth and higher, other countries are starting to challenge their influence.

Perhaps the two strongest contenders for this year’s Total BWF World Championship title come from Denmark and Japan, with Christinna Pedersen and Kamilla Rytter Juhl having taken on Misaki Matsutomo and Ayaka Takahashi on five occasions in the last 12 months alone.

After the Japanese pair – currently ranked world no.1 –  won Olympic gold in Rio, both duos have won two fixtures apiece against the other.

But, unlike their counterparts, the world no.2 Danes have had previous success at the World Championships, winning bronze and silver in 2013 and 2015 respectively – with Matsutomo and Takahashi yet to medal at the event.

One pair with form on British soil is Korean duo Chang Ye Na and Lee So Hee, who won the YONEX All England earlier this year, beating Pedersen and Juhl, having reached the quarter-final stage in 2016.

Since their victory in Birmingham in March, Chang and Lee, seeded third for the World Championships, went on to reach three consecutive semi-finals, before narrowly missing out in the final of the Indonesia Open.

Yet you still can’t rule out the Chinese, in particular double junior world champions Chen Qingchen and Jia Yifan who are seeded fourth in Glasgow.

Despite both being only 20, they have enjoyed great success in the early stages of their career, with three BWF Superseries titles to their name within the last ten months.

Chen is also a mixed doubles specialist, having won five BWF Superseries crowns alongside Zheng Siwei, including the Dubai World Superseries title.

Then there are sixth seeds Huang Dongping and Li Yinhui, a pair who have enjoyed little success on the BWF Superseries circuit this year to date, with quarter-final defeat to Matsutomo and Takahashi at the Malaysia Open their furthest progression.

Also battling for the crown will be Olympic bronze medallists Jung Kyung-eun and Shin Seung-chan, who, after their podium appearance in Rio, reached three tournament finals before 2016 was out.

They are yet to reach a title-deciding match this year, but with three semi-final appearances since the turn of the year, there is no doubting their consistency on court.

The TOTAL BWF World Championships 2017 will be staged at Glasgow’s Emirates Arena from 21-27 August.

It is being delivered by BADMINTONscotland in partnership with Glasgow Life and Glasgow City Council and with funding support from EventScotland and The National Lottery through UK Sport.

Tickets available at www.glasgow2017.com/tickets