UNIVERSIADE Finals – Thai takes a 3rd, Korea wins 4 more

Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk maintained Thailand’s lock on the Universiade men’s singles gold while Korea won everything else in Kazan on Thursday. By Don Hearn.  Photos: Badmintonphoto (archives) After taking three titles […]

Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk maintained Thailand’s lock on the men’s singles gold while Korea won everything else in Kazan on Thursday.

By Don Hearn.  Photos: Badmintonphoto (archives)

After taking three titles at the World Badminton Championships at home in Gwangju last year, Korea further improved its standing in badminton by taking 5 of 6 available golds at the Universiade in Kazan.

No Tai, but one Thai

The women’s singles title had the longest finish of the day as Sung Ji Hyun (pictured top) won in two games only after almost reaching the 30-point ceiling.  Tai Tzu Ying (pictured), who had won the WUBC title in Gwangju last autumn in Sung’s absence, never let Sung build up any lead in the second game, continually deceiving the Korean, especially with her crosscourt smashes and drops to Sung’s backhand side.

In the closing minutes of the match, Tai’s crosscourt slices sent Sung sprawling onto the sideline on several occasions, once even drawing blood and warranting a visit from the medical team.  In fact, one of Sung’s many match points came when one such shot from Tai was called in by the line judge, only to be strongly protested Sung.  The umpire actually overruled the call, although even the television replay made it look exceedingly close.

However, the game was still far from over at that point but finally, with Tai trying to play ever more tightly to the net, Sung won a few welcome points on errors and kept up the pressure to finally close the match out 29-27 in the second game.

After that, Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk (pictured) reaffirmed that Universiade men’s singles belongs to Thailand.  After Boonsak Ponsana in 2007 and Suppanyu Avihingsanon in 2011, Tanongsak added his name to the list by scoring his second career win over China’s Gao Huan.

It was also actually the biggest tournament victory of the young Thai’s career.  Although the 22-year-old has been in three Grand Prix Gold finals, as well as taking silver in the 2011 SEA Games, his only previous titles were two at the International Series level, both of which he won at home way back in 2008 and 2009.

Kim So Young 2, Tian Qing 0

Kim So Young took over from mixed doubles partner Kim Ki Jung as the double gold medallist.  Kim Ki Jung had won two in the 2012 WUBC but he was playing with an Olympic gold medallist in one of those finals, not against one in both.  This was the case, though, for Kim So Young (pictured), who had to go up against London women’s doubles winner Tian Qing (pictured)in both mixed and women’s doubles.

Perhaps Kim had the advantage of not playing in two different scratch partnerships.  She and Jang Ye Na have been playing together on the national team since April this year after reaching a national university final together in 2011.  In mixed doubles, she and Kim Ki Jung at least had the experience of playing in Gwangju last autumn.

If Kim and Kim thought playing the first game of their mixed doubles to extra points was tough going, it was certainly nothing compared to the women’s doubles.  In fact, Kim and Jang finished behind Tian and Luo Yu in total points but they came through when it counted and eked out wins in the opening and deciding games to earn Kim her third gold and Jang her second, after the team event.

Home pair unlucky with 13’s

In the last gold medal match of the day, Russia’s Vladimir Ivanov / Ivan Sozonov were unable to find a way to beat the top seeds, Ko Sung Hyun and Lee Yong Dae (pictured).  The world #13 pair found themselves on the losing end of two of the three games, all of which ended up with 21-13 scorelines.

For the Koreans, the strong showing in badminton was especially important as it moved their nation into second overall in gold medal haul at the Universiade, and they wish for no less as Korea gets set to host the next Summer Universiade, in Gwangju in 2015.

Gold medal match results
XD: Kim Ki Jung / Kim So Young (KOR) [3/4] beat Liu Cheng / Tian Qing (CHN) [5/8]  22-20, 21-14
WS: Sung Ji Hyun (KOR) [1] beat Tai Tzu-Ying (TPE) [2]  21-16, 29-27
MS: Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk (THA) [2] beat Gao Huan (CHN) [3/4]  21-12, 21-17
WD: Jang Ye Na / Kim So Young (KOR) beat Luo Yu / Tian Qing (CHN) [5/8]  27-25, 15-21, 23-21
MD: Ko Sung Hyun / Lee Yong Dae (KOR) [1] beat Vladimir Ivanov / Ivan Sozonov (RUS) [2]  13-21, 21-13, 21-13

Click here for complete, detailed 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