UNIVERSIADE 2011 SF – 4 vie for 2 golds each

Three Chinese Taipei shuttlers and one Korean are vying for two golds each on finals day of the badminton competition at the 2011 Shenzhen Universiade, while China’s Wen Kai is […]

Three Chinese Taipei shuttlers and one Korean are vying for two golds each on finals day of the badminton competition at the 2011 Shenzhen , while China’s Wen Kai is the only representative from either of the finalists from the mixed team event.

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

After the exciting finish to the China-Indonesia mixed team final at the 2011 Summer Universiade in Shenzhen, China, some unlikely heroes have emerged in the individual competition.

China’s Wen Kai (pictured below) will be on hand to keep the home team’s flag flying in the men’s singles.  He edged out top seed Pablo Abian of Spain in the quarter-finals before going on to dispose of Japan’s Takuma Ueda in the semis.

Wen’s opponent will be the dangerous Suppanyu Avihingsanon of Thailand.  Their 83-minute marathon in the mixed team semi-final was by far the biggest challenge to Wen so far in this tournament. The Thai has had a tougher road to the final, requiring 50 minutes to get through two games against Korea’s Lee Dong Keun in the second round before winning in three over Hsueh Hsuan Yi, pre-empting a Chinese Taipei sweep of the golds.

The other four disciplines may well belong to the big stars of the event, as Chinese Taipei has a team stacked with talented veterans.  Not least of all is World Championship runner-up Cheng Shao Chieh.  Cheng has marched through the women’s singles draw without being challenged and will go up against team-mate Pai Hsiao Ma (pictured below) in the final after the two beat their respective Chinese opponents.

Perhaps the big story in women’s singles, though, was the retirement, due to injury by Belaetrix Manuputi.  When a shoulder injury forced her to stop her match against Great Britain’s Sarah Milne – in which the Indonesian was leading 18-12 in the second – she not only missed a rematch against China’s Shi Xiao Qian, whom she beat in the team final, but her loss also meant that the only player at this tournament who had beaten Cheng Shao Chieh had been neutralized.

Cheng and Pai will also be teaming up to challenge for the women’s doubles gold, after they beat team-mates Wang/Hsieh in the semi-finals.  They will now face Korea’s Eom Hye Won and Jang Ye Na for the doubles gold.

Eom Hye Won (pictured below) is the only player not from Chinese Taipei to figure in two finals on Monday and she is actually undefeated so far in Shenzhen.  Though she looks as though she may be the new partner for Asian Games gold medallist Shin Baek Cheol, the two will both be getting new partners starting with the upcoming Chinese Taipei Open and China Masters.  After Kim Min Jung’s injury made her miss the Canada Open and World Championships, Shin will be partnering Eom’s former doubles partner Kim Ha Na while Eom will be the latest to audition as new parntner for talented veteran Ko Sung Hyun in Korea’s quest to find a viable second mixed pair for the London Olympics.

Shin and Eom at least look strong so far in Shenzhen, having beaten Thailand’s Jongjit/Amitapai twice and hoping to do the same in their mixed doubles final, a rematch from the mixed team event, where they already edged former world #6 Lee Sheng Mu and partner Hsieh Pei Chen.

In the men’s doubles, Lee Sheng Mu should be much more confident, playing as he is with regular partner Fang Chieh Min (pictured top with Lee).  The two have not dropped a game en route to the men’s doubles final and they can be relieved that India Open runners-up Angga Pratama / Ryan Agung Saputra, who beat the former World #3’s in the team semi-final, have already been eliminated.

However, Thailand’s Maneepong Jongjit / Bodin Isara are not a pair to be trifled with.  They reached the semi-finals of the Canada Open last month and the same week, Maneepong even prevailed over Lee Sheng Mu and his regular mixed doubles partner.

Finals line-up
MS: Wen Kai (CHN) vs. Suppanyu Avihingsanon (THA)
WS: Cheng Shao Chieh (TPE) vs. Pai Hsiao Ma (TPE)
MD: Fang Chieh Min / Lee Sheng Mu (TPE) vs. Maneepong Jongjit / Bodin Isara (THA)
WD: Cheng Shao Chieh / Pai Hsiao Ma (TPE) vs. Eom Hye Won / Jang Ye Na (KOR)
XD: Shin Baek Cheol / Eom Hye Won (KOR) vs. Lee Sheng Mu / Hsieh Pei Chen (TPE)

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