ASIAN JUNIORS 2012 Finals – Girls just wanna…win!

Finals day at the 2012 Badminton Asia Youth Under-19 Championships saw the girls’ singles and doubles set the tone that would last all afternoon, with four straight matches all going […]

Finals day at the 2012 Badminton Asia Youth Under-19 Championships saw the girls’ singles and doubles set the tone that would last all afternoon, with four straight matches all going to three games.  The first two were the only ones nabbed by top seeds, as Sindhu P. V. and Lee So Hee / Shin Seung Chan both rallied from a game down to win.

Story and photos by Don Hearn, Badzine Correspondent live in Gimcheon

All players were having fun on court and there were certainly lots of games, but the first six girls on court showed the small but keen crowd at Gimcheon Indoor Gymnasium that they were there to give everything to win.

First up was the only battle between the top two seeds.  India’s Sindhu P. V. (pictured), currently ranked #24 in the world, took on 2011 Austrian International winner Nozomi Okuhara (pictured below) of Japan.

The match started off with Sindhu dropping her first game of the tournament, as Nozomi seemed unperturbed by her opponent’s power and showed court coverage that makes a mockery of the notion that singles is a tall woman’s game.

“She was the second seed in this tournament,” said Sindhu after the final.  “I didn’t take it easy, and after losing the first game, I played hard to level it.

“She kept leading in the third game and up to 19-16, then I was thinking ‘I have to win this game.  This is the final and you have to go all out.’

“And I did my best and I won, I am so very happy.  After the match I spoke on the phone to my family and to my coach as well and they are so happy as well.

“I was almost in tears.  At the end when it was 20-all, just two points and she would win it or two points for me and I would win it.”

The end of the match saw an exchange of looks at the umpire as first Nozomi pounced on a net shot and then Sindhu, returned the favour on the very last point, but the umpire ruled both attacks legal and the match ended when Sindhu’s knockoff hit the floor.

“She kept dribbling it over at the net and all through the match I’d been lifting,” said Sindhu.  “So my coach told me to dribble it and I finally tried it at the end and the last one was like, seriously, I didn’t even expect.”

Sindhu is looking forward to some time at home now, having spent only 3 days in India since she left home to attend the Thailand Open in early June.

“It was also a long journey to get here,” she said, “because our first flight was delayed for two hours, then we missed our connecting flight, so that was another five hour delay, and then we had to take a bus for 3 hours to get here from the airport.

“I should have a bit of a break now because there is nothing until the Olympics and we have national tournaments but the next should be in August.  My coach will decide what tournaments we will enter.”

Lee/Shin: At home on the podium and at home, period.

If time away from home has been an issue of late for the girls’ singles champion, girls’ doubles champions Lee So Hee / Shin Seung Chan were relishing the chance to show Koreans what they can do, as their final was the only one broadcast live, in its entirety, on the brand new Channel A.

“Our friends all said it was great that this match would be on television,” said Shin Seung Chan after receiving her gold medal.  “And our parents are here watching so that’s a first for all the international tournaments that we’ve won.

“For our parents, they are always interested in how we’re doing but it’s so difficult for them to really follow the tournaments we play so the fact that they could see us playing so well means a lot to us.”

The Koreans were clearly having more trouble finishing the rallies than previously this week, as Huang/Yu displayed very solid defense.  But toward the end, they remained patient and made their attacks count.

“In the first game, I was really, really nervous,” Shin admitted, smiling.  “So Hee kept telling me, ‘It’s okay, it’s okay,’ and she said we just had to trust each other and we’d be able to win.”

“In the World Juniors, we won but there were no Chinese players there so it does feel really good to beat the Chinese pairs for this title,” added Lee So Hee.

Final results
GS: Sindhu P. V. (IND) [1] vs. Nozomi Okuhara (JPN) [2] 18-21, 21-17, 22-20
GD: Lee So Hee / Shin Seung Chan (KOR) [1] bt Huang Yaqiong / Yu Xiaohan (CHN) 17-21, 21-15, 21-17
(to read about the last three matches, see related article here)
XD: Choi Sol Kyu / Chae Yoo Jung (KOR) [2] bt Wang Yilu / Huang Dongping (CHN) 17-21, 25-23, 23-21
BD: Edi Subaktiar / Arya Maulana Aldiartama (INA) [4] bt Wang Chi Lin / Wu Hsiao Lin (TPE) 17-21, 22-20, 21-10
BS: Kento Momota (JPN) [3] bt Soong Joo Ven (MAS) [6] 21-13, 22-20

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 @