ASIAN GAMES Women’s Team Final – First gold in 48 years for Japan team

Japan’s women’s team confirmed themselves as the best in the world, defeating China and adding Asian Games gold to their collection of 2018 titles. Story: Naomi Indartiningrum, Badzine Correspondent live […]

Japan’s women’s team confirmed themselves as the best in the world, defeating China and adding gold to their collection of 2018 titles.

Story: Naomi Indartiningrum, Badzine Correspondent live in Jakarta
Photos: Raphael Sachetat  / Badmintonphoto (live)

The Japanese women’s team successfully got back to their place in badminton history.  After earlier this year they won the Uber Cup for the first time in 37 years, they managed to get the 2018 Asian Games women’s team gold for the first time in 48 years. Japan was already the only team other than China – whom they defeated 3-1 on Wednesday –  to win both team titles in the same year but the last time the island nation had accomplished that was back in 1966.

Akane Yamaguchi, who appeared in the opening singles match, had to struggle right from the start. Yamaguchi lost in straight games to Chen Yufei (pictured) in just 38 minutes.  Although Yamaguchi had won 7 of her previous nine matches against Chen, the 21-year-old does have a bad record when playing in the Istora Senayan, Jakarta, incidentally the last place she lost to her 20-year-old opponent.

“Overall, I could not play aggressively and I couldn’t control to shuttle to hit it on the right course,” Yamaguchi said.

Luckily, her teammates managed to complete their own task well.  Yuki Fukushima / Sayaka Hirota (pictured) performed well by beating China’s top pairing of Chen Qingchen and Jia Yifan in straight games, 21-12, 21-17.  It was the Japanese pair’s first encounter with the former World Champions since they replaced them as world #1 at the beginning of the summer.

A tight fight again occurred in the 3rd match, which brought together Nozomi Okuhara (pictured below) and He Bingjiao. Both players play neatly, with sound tactics and attacking.

Unfortunately, He Bingjiao had to take an injury time-out when she fell and had to receive treatment on her left shoulder.  Subsequently, Okuhara managed to take control of the match and she won it 21-16, 19-21, 21-15.

The Olympic gold medallists Misaki Matsutomo / Ayaka Takahashi again appeared as the second doubles and, just as they had done in Tuesday’s semi-final, they finally secured Japan’s 3-1 victory.  This time, Matsutomo / Takahashi won 21-16, 21-11 over China’s scratch pairing of Huang Dongping and Zheng Yu (pictured below).

This result is a big achievement for Japan. The reason is this is the first time for the Japanese women’s team to win the Asian Games gold medal since 1970 and now that there is also an Asian Team Championship competition every two years, they are the first team ever to win the Asian Games gold, the Uber Cup, and the Asian women’s team titles in one year.

“China is our biggest rival and I’m extremely happy that we can win against them,” said Ayaka Takahashi after the final.

“This is the first time in 48 years.  I believe winning against China means being a real world champion. It was really a good achievement,” said Japan’s Head Coach Park Joo Bong.

While Japan did beat China in the Asian Team Championship final this year, Thailand had taken care of China at the Uber Cup semi-final stage and of course, in 1970 when Japan last won gold, China was not yet competing at the Asiad.

Women’s team final resultJapan 3, China 1
WS1:  Akane Yamaguchi (JPN) lost to Chen Yufei (CHN)  15-21, 12-21
WD1:  Yuki Fukushima / Sayaka Hirota (JPN) beat Chen Qingchen / Jia Yifan (CHN)  21-12, 21-17
WS2:  Nozomi Okuhara (JPN) beat He Bingjiao (CHN)  21-16, 19-21, 21-15
WD2:  Misaki Matsutomo / Ayaka Takahashi (JPN) beat Huang Dongping / Zheng Yu (CHN)  21-16, 21-11
WS3:  Aya Ohori (JPN) vs. Gao Fangjie (CHN)  [not played]

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Naomi Indartiningrum

About Naomi Indartiningrum

Naomi began as a Badzine Correspondent in 2015, while still a Business Management student living in Jakarta. A badminton enthusiast since 2007, she mostly spends her spare time writing about local badminton events and also maintaining one of largest badminton twitter accounts in Indonesia.