ASIAN GAMES 2010 Men’s Team Final – Korea goes down fighting

The Koreans gave China a lot of trouble in the final of the Asian Games men’s team event in Guangzhou on Monday night but eventually, the favourites took the title […]

The Koreans gave China a lot of trouble in the final of the men’s team event in Guangzhou on Monday night but eventually, the favourites took the title again.  It was another gold for China after the afternoon win from the ladies.

By Raphael Sachetat, live from Guangzhou. Photos: Badmintonphoto (live)

The spectators of the Tian He Stadium – still not fully packed but with better numbers than the previous days – got their money’s worth in the final of the men’s team event. There were almost 5 hours of suspense with their heroes on top of a very exciting tie.

The first two matches were of a very high quality. Lin Dan (pictured) and Park Sung Hwan hadn’t met since the 21-13, 21-13 from Park in the Paris World Championships, and knowing how well the Koreans are usually prepared for team events, Lin Dan had some things to worry about.  And the left-hander had to dig deep to beat his nemesis. The first game went Park’s way, 21-19 and one could sense shivers in the Chinese camp. What if Lin Dan was beaten? Nothing is impossible. Especially with Park Sung Hwan using his height to his advantage and Lin Dan making unusual mistakes.

Both shuttlers were, however, very precise in their net shots and sharp in their attacks. And good in defense, which led to some long and exciting rallies keeping the public on the edge of their seats. Lin Dan scooped the second game with a bit of a margin 21-16, but the final game was to be tough on everyone’s nerves, especially in the Chinese camp.

But the Olympic Champion managed once again to take it home, thanks to his incredible ability to focus when needed and play important points at his best – the true sign of a champion. He led all the way in the final game but even if Park caught up, the Chinese was still on top 21-18 in the decider.

Best match of the year?

The men’s doubles to come was probably one of the best matches of 2010, between Lee Yong Dae and Jung Jae Sung (pictured right), and Cai Yun and Fu Haifeng. Their confrontations are always a beauty to watch and last night’s match was no exception. Lee Yong Dae had obviously gotten back his elbow power while Jung Jae Sung was all fired up, jump smashing as high as ever. On the other side, Cai and Fu (pictured below) were well supported and played just as well and it went down to the wire, when both teams reached 20-all in the deciding game after an amazing match. Tension was then at its paroxysm, and the Koreans managed to stay on top, avoiding any match points against them, finally winning 24-22 in the decider, putting Korea back in the tie.

Chen Jin had little trouble putting his team back in the lead over Shon Wan Ho and it was then the second doubles on court. Ko and Yoo had beaten Guo and Xu twice in a year, each time after long and close matches – the last one in the Thomas Cup Finals where the Koreans had edged the Chinese by the perfectly symmetrical score of 21-19 , 19-21, 21-19.

This time, however, it was China’s turn to win and the duo of Xu and Guo was just a little more aggressive while 23-year-old Ko Sung Hyun didn’t handle the pressure well in the second game. Yoo made up for it at some moments, but the balance was broken and China could celebrate and feel relieved as in case of a defeat from their men’s doubles, Chen Long would have had a very tricky match to play against Lee Hyun Il…

Lin Dan (CHN) beat Park Sung Hwan (KOR): 19-21, 21-16, 21-18
Lee/Jung (KOR) beat Cai/Fu (CHN): 21-17, 20-22, 24-22
Chen Jin (CHN) beat Shon Wan Ho (KOR): 21-9, 21-15
Guo/Xu (CHN) beat Ko/Yoo (KOR): 23-21, 21-17.

Raphaël Sachetat

About Raphaël Sachetat

Raphael is the Chief Editor of Badzine International. He is the founder of the website together with Jean François Chauveau. After many years writing for the BWF and many publications around the world about badminton, he now leads a team of young and dynamic writers for Badzine.