ASIAN GAMES Day 6 – Olympic champs out!

It was not the best day China could have hoped for as both of its men’s doubles pairs were shown an early exit in the individual event of the Incheon […]

It was not the best day China could have hoped for as both of its men’s doubles pairs were shown an early exit in the individual event of the Incheon 2014 while their sole remaining women’s pair barely held on.

Tarek Hafi, Badzine Correspondent live in Incheon.  Photos: Badmintonphoto and Don Hearn (archives)

Cai Yun and Fu Haifeng (pictured) might have come close to saving China in the men’s team final but couldn’t keep the form they had a few days earlier and were ousted in the second round of the Asian Games men’s doubles competition.  With one of their five Olympic champs out of the tournament, along with their only other men’s pair, China loses a chance to redeem themselves by bringing all the individual medals home, something they have done at most of the major badminton events but have never accomplished at the Asian Games.

It was an outcome the four-time men’s doubles World Champions were probably not ready to deal with.  For them personally, as well, the Asian Games gold is one of the few major titles they have never won in their illustrious career, along with the Superseries Finals and just a few of the Superseries Opens.

Cai Yun and Fu Haifeng were, no doubt, gearing up for a quarter-final showdown with top seeds Lee and Yoo but they were ambushed along the way by Indonesia’s Angga Pratama and Rian Agung Saputro (pictured), who both managed their nerves to perfection in this three-game battle.

Our coach told us to remain brave, even though they are the Olympic Champs and have won many tournaments, he told us to fight like it was any usual opponent,” said Saputro afterward.

In the first game, we couldn’t get used to the court, though in the second it went better but the third, the same mistakes came back but we managed to deal with it.

The Indonesians are now set to meet the home favourites Lee Yong Dae and Yoo Yeon Seong in the quarter-finals.

To add more drama inside the Chinese team, Liu Xiaolong and Qiu Zihan were also the unexpected casualties.  After their good fortune in being spared a match yesterday against former gold medallist Tan Boon Heong, whom the Chinese have never beaten, Liu and Qiu went down in straight games to India’s Manu Attri and Reddy Sumeeth Buss.

It was not all good news for India, however.  World Championship bronze medallist P. V. Sindhu also said her farewell to the tournament, being denied a chance to qualify for the quarter-finals in Incheon.

Indonesia’s Bellaetrix Manuputty (pictured above) was the culprit in this case, remaining focused throughout the match despite the Indian’s constant attacks throughout the three-game battle.  An even tougher opponent is now waiting for the Indonesian as she is now set to meet Li Xuerui, who easily disposed of Yip Pui Yin earlier today.

There was also huge disappointment for the local fans, as South Korea’s Jung Kyung Eun and Kim Ha Na (pictured), Korea’s sole women’s doubles pair left in the draw after the elimination of Kim So Young and Jang Ye Na yesterday, could not have been nearer to beating the recently crowned World Champions Tian Qing and Zhao Yunlei, but still couldn’t close the deal.

Both pairs fought throughout the three tough games while things started to become controversial toward the end as Tian Qing double touched a shuttle but was not penalized by the umpire.  The long argument that followed then became China’s advantage and allowed them to march towards the win and to secure a bronze medal at least.

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