BELGIAN INT’L – Go(h)-getter

Goh Jin Wei is considered to be one of the brightest prospects in Malaysia and maybe in the whole of Asia. The 15-year old not only survived the qualifications at […]

Goh Jin Wei is considered to be one of the brightest prospects in Malaysia and maybe in the whole of Asia. The 15-year old not only survived the qualifications at the Belgian International but pushed through to the final and  overcame second seed Kirsty Gilmour for the title.

By Elm Vandevorst, Badzine Correspondent live in Leuven. Photos: Fons van der Vorst (live)

What is learned in the cradle is carried to the tomb

It was of mix of talented youngsters and experienced veterans on finals day in the Sportoase at the Yonex Belgian International. Goh Jin Wei (pictured), recently included into the Podium Programme by the Badminton Association of Malaysia, rushed through the tournament and hadn’t lost a game so far. This was a rather impressive feat as she had to play the qualifications as well. In the final, she met Scotland’s Kirsty Gilmour, who’s been back on her way to the top after some disappointing results.

Gilmour, still the 4th European shuttler on the world ranking, kept pace until 14-all in the first game. But it was her Malaysian opponent who picked up a notch and won 21-15. It was a similar scenario in game two, with all level at 18-18, and Goh Jin Wei scoring the deciding points in money time. This was the first career win at this level for Goh Jin Wei, who’s considered to be a genuine medal prospect for the 2020 Olympics.

Another title contender at the upcoming Olympics in Tokyo might be Danish raising star Anders Antonsen (pictured). Just as with Goh, Antonsen had to play the qualifications in order to enter the main draw. On his way to the final, he surprised, amongst others, Lucas Corvee and fellow Dane Rasmus Fladberg.

It was another compatriot, Christian Lind Thomsen, who had the chance to prevent Antonsen from winning in Belgium. But Lind Thomsen, finalist at the 2009 edition, has to wait at least another year for his first victory at the Belgian International after his opponent took this one 21-18, 21-17.  A delighted Antonsen can add another title to what might be an impressive trophy case within a few years.

“It was a very though week. Playing the qualifications are an advantage because you’re used to the conditions, whereas your opponent isn’t. It’s great to hear that experts reckon that a great career awaits me.  It truly motivates me. I’m sure I can cope with the stress of being a talented player,” explained Antonsen.

Team Denmark got the chance to celebrate a second title in the women’s singles with Sara Thygesen and Maiken Fruergaard. Not considered to be title contenders before the start of the tournament, the Danish pair impressed with solid victories against first seeds Johanna Goliszewski and Carla Nelte in the semis and Malaysians youngsters Joyce Choong and Yap Cheng Wen in the final.

“We really tried to keep it simple, instead of trying to make the impossible shots. And that tactic really worked throughout the entire tournament,” said Thygesen.

With all these talented youngsters, we can’t forget about the impressive victory of Polish veterans Robert Mateusiak and Nadia Zieba. Since re-forming their partnership a few months ago, the mixed doubles pairing took a third title from four events. After losing the first game 21-15, they crushed Jonathan Nordh and Emilie Fabbeke in game two and three 21-6 and 21-8. At length there was also a win for another versed pairing. India’s Manu Attri and B. Sumeeth Reddy overcame Adam Cwalina and Przemyslaw Wacha in the most hard-fought match of the day with 22-20, 19-21, 22-20.

Final results
WD: Maiken Fruergaard / Sara Thygesen (DEN) beat Joyce Choong / Yap Cheng Wen (MAS)  21-18, 21-11
WS: Goh Jin Wei (MAS) beat Kirsty Gilmour (SCO) [2]  21-15, 21-18
XD: Robert Mateusiak / Nadiezda Zieba (POL) beat Jonatan Nordh /  Emelie Fabbeke    (SWE)  15-21, 21-6, 21-8
MS: Anders Antonsen (DEN) beat Christian Lind Thomsen (DEN)  21-18, 21-17
MD: Manu Attri / B. Sumeeth Reddy (IND) [1] beat Adam Cwalina / Przemyslaw Wacha (POL) [2]  22-20, 19-21, 22-20

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About Elm Vandevorst