UNIVERSIADE 2011 Finals – Hye Won two!

Cheng Shao Chieh was Chinese Taipei’s only golden shuttler in four tries on finals day of the Shenzhen Universiade badminton event.  Eom Hye Won was the only one of four […]

Cheng Shao Chieh was Chinese Taipei’s only golden shuttler in four tries on finals day of the Shenzhen badminton event.  Eom Hye Won was the only one of four double finalists to take two golds and Thailand also went two for two on the day.

By Don Hearn, Badzine Correspondent.  Photos: Badmintonphoto and Don Hearn (archives)

The last time Eom Hye Won (pictured) was in a major international final, she was also in two, when she faced veteran compatriots in the women’s and mixed doubles finals at home at the Korea Grand Prix last November.  One of Korea’s most promising juniors a couple of years ago, she missed her final stab at the World Juniors because of domestic tournament duties and since then, success has been hard to come by.

Now, just before her twentieth birthday, fortune seems to have finally taken her side.  Though she and Asian Games gold medallist and team-mate Shin Baek Cheol had only a week of training together before the Shenzhen event, they managed to overcome the threat by veterans Lee Sheng Mu and Hsieh Pei Chen in the mixed doubles final.

Chinese Taipei sent a very experienced team to the Shenzhen Universiade.  Hsieh was, in fact, Chinese Taipei’s only finalist on Monday who was born after 1986 and one of only two players who had never attained a world top ten ranking.  Still, most of the Chinese Taipei team had flown to China directly from the World Championships in London, which finished only days earlier, and their experience was not enough to save Lee and Hsieh from defeat at the hands of the Koreans in the mixed team event.

Nor did the 1-0 record against the Taiwan pair erase the jitters for Eom Hye Won, either, however.  Eom, the youngest Universiade finalist, committed a string of errors near the end of the third game that allowed Lee/Hsieh to surge ahead to a threatening 19-17 lead.

“I told her to just trust me and to relax and get the shuttle over the net,” Shin Baek Cheol told Korea’s Yonhap News Agency.

From that point, Shin came up with some powerful smashes while Eom settled down to knock off the returns at the net and the Koreans were able to snag the first individual gold of the afternoon.

Next up was the women’s singles final, which Chinese Taipei already had in the bag and, as expected, World Championship runner-up Cheng Shao Chieh (pictured) took it from her compatriot and women’s doubles partner Pai Hsiao Ma in two games.  For Cheng, who is currently at her highest ever spot on the world rankings at 8th, it was the second major international title of the summer and, along with her silver in London, puts her on a roll as she returns home to the Chinese Taipei Open in two weeks as two-time defending champion.

Men’s doubles may have been by far the shortest match of the day but it was certainly the biggest surprise.  Fang Chieh Min and Lee Sheng Mu, who only last week slipped after more than a year in the world’s top ten, continued in their slump, losing a one-sided match to up-and-coming Maneepong Jongjit / Bodin Isara (pictured) of Thailand.

The Thai youngsters wowed spectators with their fast movements and great teamwork.  Jongjit and Isara, both 20, have already been playing together for a couple of years but they are currently ranked 77th in the world, on the strength of only 5 tournaments.  They will have their belated Super Series debut at next month’s Japan Open.

After a two-match break, Eom Hye Won was back on court and this time she and Jang Ye Na gave no quarter to Taiwan’s Cheng and Pai, who had played a 39-minute singles match against one another just an hour before.  The Koreans wrapped it up in two games to send Eom home wearing two golds.

Eom and Jang will be making the trip back south soon enough, however, as this is a partnership that will get a longer trial, beginning with the trio of Chinese Taipei Open, China Masters, and Japan Open next month.  The two played together internationally only once before, when they lost in the first round of last year’s Badminton Asia Championships.

The match the crowd was eagerly awaiting was the men’s singles, of course.  Wen Kai, who was undefeated in the mixed team event and had already offed the top seed in the individual event, was the favourite.  However, Thailand’s Suppanyu Avihingsanon (pictured) is a big-game player and he was able to come up with the performance that netted him the gold at the 2011 Universiade.

Although Suppanyu had complained of ankle trouble during his semi-final match, he seemed okay in the final, saying afterward that he had concentrated on his net play and on taking one point at a time without rushing to try and finish.  In the end, he was able to deny China any gold and instead snagged a second for Thailand, equalling the take by Korea, while Chinese Taipei and Indonesia, the team winner, finished the tournament with one gold apiece.

Final results
XD: Shin Baek Cheol / Eom Hye Won (KOR) bt Lee Sheng Mu / Hsieh Pei Chen (TPE) 15-21, 21-11, 21-19
WS: Cheng Shao Chieh (TPE) bt Pai Hsiao Ma (TPE) 21-18, 21-15
MD: Maneepong Jongjit / Bodin Isara (THA) bt Fang Chieh Min / Lee Sheng Mu (TPE) 21-10, 21-16
WD: Eom Hye Won / Jang Ye Na (KOR) bt Cheng Shao Chieh / Pai Hsiao Ma (TPE) 21-11, 21-14
MS: Suppanyu Avihingsanon (THA) bt Wen Kai (CHN) 21-18, 21-16

Click here for complete results

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 @ badzine.net