ASIAN CHAMPS 2014 – All top men but 1 fall on Day 1

Boonsak Ponsana was one of the unfortunates as Korea’s Son Wan Ho was the only men’s singles seed to survive the 1st round at the 2014 Badminton Asia Championships in […]

Boonsak Ponsana was one of the unfortunates as Korea’s Son Wan Ho was the only men’s singles seed to survive the 1st round at the 2014 in Gimcheon.

By Don Hearn.  Photos: Badmintonphoto (archives)

Korea’s national badminton team is taking a very different approach from its competitors to this phase of the 2014 badminton calendar.  While teams like Indonesia, Malaysia, and China are buckling down and preparing for the upcoming Thomas and Uber Cups, Korea not only has its strongest possible team involved in the Badminton Asia Championships – which it is hosting in Gimcheon – but immediately afterward, all of the nation’s strongest players are heading north to Andong for the biggest event on the domestic badminton calendar, which is being played more than a month earlier than usual.

The fact that the Koreans are taking these Championships seriously was in full evidence on court on Wednesday, where the home team saw a perfect dozen players or pairs advance to the second round.  One key feature in this string of successes was the performance by four shuttlers who could well be picked as third singles players at the team events next month.  Hwang Jong Soo (pictured) scored the biggest upset for Korea.  Ranked #133 in the world, Hwang sent world #10 and third seed Nguyen Tien Minh packing for Vietnam after a straight-game defeat.

Things went almost as well on the women’s side. Lee Jang Mi (pictured bottom), who has had very little to boast about since winning the 2012 German Junior Open, reached 110 spots above her ranking to topple world #12 Minatsu Mitani of Japan.

Hong Kong had a day of ups and downs, with their first two matches, in particular, showing contrasting fortunes.  First, 5th-seeded Hu Yun fell to 19-year-old Wang Tzu Wei of Chinese Taipei, whose is evidently still on a roll after being crowned New Zealand Open Champion on Saturday.  Then Wei Nan (pictured below) made up for that by offing top seed Boonsak Ponsana.

One of Hong Kong’s ‘downs’ became an ‘up’ for Korea as Wong Wing Ki went down to Korea’s Park Sung Min.  The women were affected, too, as Yip Pui Yin’s woes continued.  For the 7th straight time since her semi-final finish at last year’s Macau Open, Yip failed to advance past the first round.  This time, it was Malaysia’s Tee Jing Yi doing the honours, something that may be encouring for her Uber Cup team.

The biggest shock of the day, perhaps, came with the loss of world #15 Kento Momota of Japan at the hands of China’s Liu Kai.  Liu is ranked a lowly #572 in the world rankings, as he has only this year’s China International Challenge to his name.

Click here for complete Wednesday results

Badzine will be on site in Gimcheon from Friday until Sunday to bring you live reports and photos

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 @