CANADA OPEN 2011 Finals – Two weeks, two titles for Ko and Lee

Ko Sung Hyun and Lee Yong Dae treated the crowd to some hard-hitting thrills as they took their second title in a row, winning the 2011 Yonex Canada Open and […]

Ko Sung Hyun and Lee Yong Dae treated the crowd to some hard-hitting thrills as they took their second title in a row, winning the 2011 Yonex and holding China to one title.

By Don Hearn, Badzine Correspondent live in Richmond.  Photos: Yves Lacroix for Badmintonphoto (live)

Cheng Shao Chieh might have been introduced by the announcer as the winner from way back in the 2004 World Junior Championhips, also held in Vancouver.  However, she was not the only finalist from back then in action here in Richmond today.  Lee Yong Dae too, on his last trip to British Columbia, had been a 16-year-old finalist, losing to some slightly older Malaysians.

This time, however, Lee made no mistake as he and Ko Sung Hyun marched to the title by beating China’s Liu Xiaolong / Qiu Zihan 21-18, 21-16 and thus made the most of their scratch partnership, with two North American Pacific Coast titles before returning to Korea to prepare for the World Championships.

While for Lee Yong Dae / Ha Jung Eun and Shin Baek Cheol / Kim Min Jung, the pair of tournaments was supposed to shore up their ranking, Ko Sung Hyun revealed that he wasn’t exactly in the same situation.

“I entered this tournament mostly as practice,” explained Ko Sung Hyun after the final, as a crowd of mostly children gathered around him hoping for autographs.  “That’s of course true with men’s doubles but we haven’t really thought about where the mixed partnership is headed, either.

“It looks like now that we’ve played together, it might not be realistic to hope for Kim Ha Na and me to qualify for the Olympics together.

“It’s not an issue with having the stamina or fitness for it. It’s just that I had been playing mixed doubles with Ha Jung Eun for quite a while and we clicked pretty well together but it looks like it will be hard to get another fit with a different partner.

“I don’t know even if I will continue to play with Ha Na but if we do do well enough to qualify for the Olympics, we will of course give it our best shot.

“Although we’d both beaten this Chinese pair separately, we didn’t go in thinking it would be easier or anything but we were pretty confident we’d win.  As for strategy, the only thing we planned was for Yong Dae to stay at the net as much as possible and for me to concentrate on attacking from the rear court.

“For the World Championships, I will just be playing men’s doubles with Yoo Yeon Seong but for the rest of the year, the think I’d like most would be to defend our titles at tournaments we won last year.

“I don’t really wish I had played with Yeon Seong at this tournament or in the United States.  These events don’t offer that much in the way of ranking points.  In a way, it was just fun to play these tournaments.

“This was my first time playing in Canada and the U.S. although I had often wanted to come here.  I really liked it.  The weather was great and it was fun.”

The atmosphere in the hall got rather interesting during the final as the competition on court was mirrored by an exterior one between cheering sections as shouts of the familiar ‘Jiayou!’ were heard mainly from one set of bleachers, in particular every time the other side of the hall issued what turned out to be an English cheer of ‘Go, Korea, go!’  Ko Sung Hyun said the cheers – which were interspersed with some more traditional ‘Hwaiting!’ and ‘Dae-Han-Min-Gook!’ – reached the players’ ears loud and clear.

“There were a lot of Korean people here supporting us so that really helped us to feel we were supported as we played the tournaments.”

And so ends the 2011 Yonex Canada Open Badminton Championships, with Germany taking two titles and Korea, China and Chinese Taipei going home with one each.  Most of the top players are now going to their respective countries and training centres for the final two weeks of preparation for the Badminton World Championships in London.

Click here for complete results

If you are in Richmond for the Canada Open, or any time, consider our partner hotel, the Executive Airport Plaza, a world class hotel & conference centre in Richmond, BC, near Vancouver International Airport.

Whether you are staying for a few days of just between flights, the Executive Airport Plaza hotel in Richmond BC is your home away from home. Book your stay at the Executive Airport Plaza Hotel today!

Don Hearn

About Don Hearn

Don Hearn is an Editor and Correspondent who hails from a badminton-loving town in rural Canada. He joined the Badzine team in 2006 to provide coverage of the Korean badminton scene and is committed to helping Badzine to promote badminton to the place it deserves as a global sport. Contact him at: don @