ALL JAPAN CHAMPIONSHIPS – Youngsters make a stand

In Japan, all eyes were on the All Japan Championship tournament in Yoyogi Stadium last week for a tournament which decided next year’s national team selections. With the Olympic year […]

In Japan, all eyes were on the All Japan Championship tournament in Yoyogi Stadium last week for a tournament which decided next year’s team selections. With the Olympic year ahead, a lot was at stake for the coaches and for the players…

By Miyuki Komiya, live from Tokyo (text and photos, with Badmintonphoto)

This tournament was important for veteran players and young players. Veterans had to keep their position as national members while their younger compatriots were eager to step up the national team. Many of the youngsters beat National A players and showed their best to national team coaches, who had their word to say about who is to make it to the national team – if the winners and finalists are selected automatically, others can be picked by the coaches after this tournament.

Men’s singles: Tago and Sasaki rule but…

Keigo Sonoda (photo) and Takuma Ueda had good performances in this tournament with good result. Keigo beat Kazushi Yamada, the 2nd-seeded World Championship quarter finalist, and he also had a exciting match against Sho Sasaki, who had beaten Taufik Hidayat in Japan this year.  Sho did finally beat Sonoda 16-21, 21-11, 21-19.

On his end, Takuma Ueda beat Shoji Sato – the 4th seed and former national #1 singles player for a long time in Japan – in the quarter final before bowing to Kenichi Tago in the semi-final, 21-19,21-16. The latter was all praise for his opponent, Ueda : “I was able to beat him this time, but I think he will be a rival for me in Japan . I am glad that players of my age got good results this time.”

In the final, Tago beat Sasaki 21-9,21-19 to nail his third consecutive win in this tournament. “I calmed down after winning as I felt that my performance was far from that of the world’s top players. So I will train harder as the #1 player in Japan,” said Tago afterward.

Men’s doubles: the best still on top

2010 national team members made sure logic prevailed in the men’s doubles. All 4 pairs reached the semi-final but it wasn’t easy. Young pairs of Sonoda/Kamura, Hoshino/Kobayashi, Ueda/Saeki reached the quarter-finals and two of them had close matches against national team members.

Women’s singles: New names rising

Misaki Matsutomo maybe the rising star in Japan, yet she lost to a new player,  Nozomi Okuhara, who is only 15 years of age – just a couple of months younger than Ratchanok Intanon from Thailand.  Minatsu Mitani reached the semi-final stage before bowing to Eriko Hirose – not without taking a game from the team leader.  Hirose scooped her third straight and fifth overall national singles title with a comfortable 21-16, 21-14 victory over Kaori Imabeppu in the final.

Women’s doubles – as expected

Suetsuna/Maeda(WR#2) won their first national championship in 2010, as they had always been in the shadow of Ogura and Shiota. They were runners-up in this tournament 4 consecutive  times, beginning in 2006.  Young power was also on display in this category. Miki/Yonemoto beat Matsuo/Naito(WR#12).

Mixed doubles: Double hat trick for Maeda

The final of the mixed doubles was a rematch of last year. With the repeat in the final success of Hirata and Maeda over Ikeda/Shiota. The latter were even more disappointed as it is now their only category and hence, they really wanted this title. They got the 1st game, and match point in the 2nd game and almost grabbed the title. But Hirata/ Maeda managed to turn the tables round and got their second win in a row.  This title is the 6 consecutive win for Miyuki Maeda including her 4 titles with Keita Masuda.


Men’s singles:

Winner: Kenichi Tago
Runner-up: Sho Sasaki
Semi-finalists:  Takuma Ueda, Keigo Sonoda

Men’s doubles:

Winners:  Hirata/Hashimoto
Runners-up: Kazuno/Hirobe
Semi-finalists: Hayakawa/Endo, Sato/Kawamae

Women’s singles:

Winner:  Eriko Hirose
Runner-up: Kaori Imabeppu
Semi-finalists: Ai Goto, Minatsu Mitani

Women’s doubles

Winners:  Suetsuna/Maeda
Runners-up: Fujii/Kakiiwa
Semi-finalists: Matsutomo/Takahashi, Miki/Yonemoto

Mixed doubles

Winners:  Hirata/Maeda
Runners-up: Ikeda/Shiota
Semi-finalists: Kazuno/Kanamori, Kawamae/Tai

Full results HERE

Miyuki Komiya

About Miyuki Komiya

Miyuki Komiya is Badzine's correspondent in Japan. She joined the Badzine team in 2008 to provide coverage of the Japanese badminton scene. She has played badminton for more than 30 years and has been a witness to the modern history of Japanese badminton, both watching players become stronger on court and hearing the players comment on their increasing success over the years. Contact her at: miyuki @