OLYMPICS 2008 Day 2 – Badminton Parades a Dictionary of Nations

In the true spirit of the Olympic Games, 22 nations of 4 continents were represented in the 14 matches scheduled for the evening session of the 2nd day of the […]

In the true spirit of the Olympic Games, 22 nations of 4 continents were represented in the 14 matches scheduled for the evening session of the 2nd day of the 29th Olympiad in Beijing.

By Jan Lin, reporting live from Beijing (BIMC). Photos: Badmintonphoto (live)

From Egypt to Belarus, the fanciful women’s singles event dominated the night as 18 ladies of 17 nationalities fought tooth and nail for a spot in the round of 16. Unlike the morning session, where defending champion Zhang Ning suffered a scare before proceeding to the next round, the evening session was a breeze for her Chinese compatriots.

Third seed Lu Lan had an effortless victory against Karen Foo Kune of Mauritius. After going down 3-21 in the first game, Karen was forced to retire when she was down 1-7 in the second game after injuring her leg. Top seed Xie Xingfang overwhelmed 2004 World Junior Champion Cheng Shao-Chieh of Chinese Taipei in stunning straight game scores of 21-1, 21-9.

“I have no idea why she played so badly tonight, but it lifted up the pressure off my shoulders,” said the lanky Chinese.

Household names from the badminton powerhouses such as Wong Mew Choo of Malaysia, 2004 Athen Games’ quarterfinalists Wang Chen of Hong Kong and Tracey Hallam of Great Britain, all earned comfortable victories against their opponents from South Africa, Slovakia and Czech Republic.

Seventh seed Chinese-born Xu Huaiwen (photo), representing Germany at the Games, survived a first game scare against Finland’s Anu Nieminen before taking the next two games with ease by scores of 21-17, 21-8. Anu Nieminen is the wife of Finland’s #1 tennis player Jarkko Nieminen, who is also featured at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games!

Canadian badminton queen Anna Rice defeated Swiss national Jeannie Cicognini 21-10, 21-13 to set herself up against local badminton princess Lu Lan in the round of 16. While 19-year-old Olga Konon of Belarus, who came through to the round of 32 with a spectacular victory over fellow 19-year-old Xing Aiying of Singapore, defeated Slovenia’s Maja Tvrdy 21-17, 21-14 tonight.

Despite a glorious start to her inaugural Olympic campaign, Egyptian Hadia Hosny could not overcome seasoned campaigner Petya Nedelcheva of Bulgaria tonight. Nedelcheva, who beat Hosny 21-7, 21-4 tonight, was, in fact, the one who defeated Denmark’s Chinese-killer Tine Rasmussen at the 2004 Games. Interestingly, the Bulgarian will face the other Chinese-killer Wong Mew Choo tomorrow.

In the only men’s singles round of 64 match of the night, Anup Sridhar of India defeated 37-year-old Portuguese Marco Vasconcelos by commendable scores of 21-16, 21-14. In the round of 32, Anup will face Japanese Sato Shoji, who will be towered over, head and shoulders, by the 1.89m tall Indian!

The women’s doubles event was perhaps the only event that came close to serving up a dose of drama. The Chinese second and third seeds – Du Jing/Yu Yang and Wei Yili/Zhang Yawen – both had to go to hell and back in their respective round of 16 encounters before booking their quarter-final tickets

Despite a convincing first game victory, Du/Yu slipped in the second set against the young Koreans Kim Min Jung/Ha Jung Eun, before wrapping up the match 21-11, 16-21, 21-15. Du/Yu will face their fellow East Asian tigress duo Reiko Shiota/Kumiko Ogura of Japan (pictured above), who also nabbed a see-saw victory against Danish dames Lena Frier Kristiansen/Kamilla Rytter Juhl 18-21, 21-14, 21-18.

The other European women’s doubles representative of the night, Gail Emms/Donna Kellogg  (photo), were a menacing threat against host representatives Wei Yili/Zhang Yawen. The English ladies were neck-and-neck with the Chinese throughout the first game and were up 19-17 before the Chinese caught up to bag the one-game lead.

Not wanting to disappoint the home crowd, the Chinese duo got their act together in the second to book their quarter-final spot with scores of 21-19, 21-13. The scoreline is, however, somewhat deceiving. The second game was played in 20 minutes while the first game was over in a shorter time of 18 minutes!

Wei/Zhang will take on world number 5 Chien Yu-Chin/Cheng Wen-Hsing of Chinese Taipei in the quarterfinal. The Taiwanese, who defeated South Africans Michelle Edwards/Chantal Botts in the round of 16, have already bettered their result in their previous Olympic outing as they crashed out in the round of 16 at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games.

For full results HERE.

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About Jan Lin