Tokyo 2020 gold medallist Chen Yufei will lead China's team in Finland ©Getty Images

Olympic champion Chen Yufei will seek to lead China’s title defence at the Badminton World Federation (BWF) Sudirman Cup Finals in Vantaa, with the nation’s top stars poised to return to the international circuit.

Chinese players have largely been absent from the BWF circuit since the COVID-19 pandemic began impacting the calendar last March.

Their stars returned for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, where Chen secured the women’s singles title and Chinese mixed doubles pairing of Wang Yi Lyu and Huang Dong Ping also topped the podium.

All three players will be in action in Vantaa later this month, with the Finnish city named as host in June in place of China whose borders have largely been shut due to the pandemic.

Olympic silver medallist Chen Long will be absent from China’s team, with Shi Yuqi due to compete in the men’s singles event.

Lu Guang Zu, Li Shi Feng, He Bing Jiao and Wang Zhi Yi have also been named in the Chinese team, along with Liu Cheng, Feng Yan Zhe, He Ji Ting, and Tan Qiang.

China have won 11 of the 16 Sudirman Cup titles to date, with the nation triumphing in eight of the last nine editions of the mixed team competition.

Japan were the runners-up the last time the event was held in 2019.

The Japanese team will be represented by men’s world number one Kento Momota, as well as Nozomi Okuhara, Akane Yamaguchi, Mayu Matsumoto, Wakana Nagahara, Yuta Watanabe and Arisa Higashino.

China have won eight of the past nine editions of the event ©Getty Images
China have won eight of the past nine editions of the event ©Getty Images

Japan will also call upon doubles pairings Takuro Hoki and Yugo Kobayashi, as well as Akira Koga and Taichi Saito.

Both pairings have been runners-up at the BWF World Championships.

Indonesia have named men’s doubles world champions Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan in their team, alongside new Olympic women’s doubles gold medallists Greysia Polii and Apriyani Rahayu.

Olympic men's singles champion Viktor Axelsen leads a strong Danish team, which includes Mia Blichfeldt, Kim Astrup, Anders Skaarup Rasmussen, Sara Thygesen and Maiken Fruergaard.

Mathias Christiansen and Alexandra Bøje complete their team as the mixed doubles pairing.

The tournament will begin with the group stage with China facing Thailand, Finland and India in Group A, while Chinese Taipei, Germany, Tahiti and South Korea will compete in Group B.

Group C will feature Denmark, Indonesia, the Russian Olympic Committee and Canada, with England, Egypt, Japan and Malaysia competing in Group D.

The top two teams in each group will advance to the knockout stage, which will conclude with the final on October 3 at Energia Areena.