WORLDS 2010 – Clean sweep for China

23 years after their last clean sweep, the Chinese shuttlers scooped all five gold medals at the 2010 Yonex BWF World Championships in Paris on Sunday in front of a […]

23 years after their last clean sweep, the Chinese shuttlers scooped all five gold medals at the 2010 Yonex BWF in Paris on Sunday in front of a full house. The powerhouse is back.

Raphael Sachetat, live from Paris. Photos: Badmintonphoto (live)

The curtain came down on 7 days of amazing play. And the five gold medals will be making the trip to Beijing on Monday, as Li Yongbo’s boys and girls had a perfect day in Paris, sweeping all titles.

The mixed doubles event was a done deal for China as both pairs were from the “middle kingdom”, but oddly enough it was Zheng Bo and Ma Jin – who  had been deprived from competition for several months after Zheng had been kicked off of the National team – who came out on top against He Hanbin and Yu Yang, 21-14, 21-10 after 42 minutes.

Chen Jin just too quick

The rest of the world had a first chance to grab gold against China in the men’s singles event as Taufik was going for his second world title, but this time against China’s Chen Jin. In this crazy draw – where Lee Chong Wei and Lin Dan had disappeared before the semi-final stage, meaning no medal whatsoever for these two favourites –  the public had obviously chosen its chouchou (sweetheart in French).

But the cheers and applause from the audience weren’t enough to push Taufik who, from very early in the match, was trailing by far. The Chinese, much quicker and more accurate, was to give a lesson in efficiency to his elder opponent, even if, at times, Taufik was showing glimpses of his genious type of play.

The Indonesian went down in straight games, 13–21, 15-21, while Chen Jin took a crown he had only tasted in the Junior years, when he had scooped 2 world titles. “It’s good to win a title,” Said Chen Jin.  “Lin Dan and Lee Chong Wei have been winning all the while and to win the World Championships is always good.

It was an emotional moment for me on the winner’s podium but the moment I got down, I believe it starts from zero all over again,” Chen Jin added. “There are still many competitions waiting for me! I am my biggest competitor. Winning this title has been an invaluable learning experience. There are still many areas for me to improve on and to still be learning from the likes of Lin Dan, Lee Chong Wei, Taufik.

China 5, Rest of the world  0

After the defeat of Taufik, the only chance for the rest of the world to avoid the fate of 1987 when in Beijing, China had clinched 5 golds for the first and only time ever was relying on the shoulders of Malaysia’s Koo Kien Keat and Tan Boon Heong.

And once again, China proved too efficient. Cai Yun and Fu Haifeng were to defend their title and keep it, winning in three games 18-21, 21-18, 21-14. The Chinese pair, however, also made history by becoming the first doubles pair ever to win three world crowns, after Lin Dan had won that honour in the men’s singles event.

We weren’t thinking about the four golds that China had already won.  We just wanted to play our own game and take it a point at a time,” said Fu Haifeng. “Winning the World title, even if three times, is to us only a process, a learning experience in preparing us for the 2012 Olympics.

Echoing his sentiments, Fu’s partner, Cai Yun, said: “Winning this title was not easy but the 2012 Olympic is still our goal so as to to make up for the disappointment of 2008. We’ll take all the other competitions as they come.

Koo/Tan’s coach, Rexy Mainaky, said of his protégés’ silver-medal performance: “I’m quite happy with their performance, it was good to see their character and learning how to enjoy the game again. I think [to win a match like this] it’s about, amongst these top players, who will be psychologically tougher. Even though we failed to deliver the gold medal, I still want to thank the national team for all their support.

That was it for China.  It was an amazing run for all their players – a mix of old and young generation, obviously feeling at home even if the public was sometimes cheering against them.

Wang Lin was crowned against Wang Xin – in 3 games, while Olympic Champions Du and Yu scooped their first world title against Ma and Wang, 21-9, 21-17.

Winning the world title has always been our dream but still, this is not an end but yet another beginning to scale greater heights,” Yu Yang revealed. “Our current achievements are still a far cry from what our seniors and predecessors have achieved, we will keep training hard.

We lost the critical tie for China at the Uber Cup and was criticised by the public,” Yu Yang added, “while our coaches did not give up on us, that team defeat impacted us tremendously. We’ve been hoping to redeem ourselves by putting on good performances and let our results do the talking.

Wang Lin was the youngest winner on the  day and the most recent of the 6 former World Junior Champions who chose Paris to take their first world title on the senior stage.  She said: “I’d prepared for a very tough battle but it turned out to be easier than expected. I’d done a thorough analysis of her game before this match so I was very clear about how to take her on and I’m very happy that I was able to execute my game plan perfectly.  However winning this title alone is insufficient to cement the top spot status in China. I’ll still need to win many more titles in order to establish myself firmly.

A few minutes after the last final was over, the stadium was already empty, with the courts gone together with the purple carpet which was covering all of the Pierre de Coubertin Stadium. Wang Lin and Chen Jin were kind enough to go for a special Solibad photo session – more information on that soon….

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Raphaël Sachetat

About Raphaël Sachetat

Raphael is the Chief Editor of Badzine International. He is the founder of the website together with Jean François Chauveau. After many years writing for the BWF and many publications around the world about badminton, he now leads a team of young and dynamic writers for Badzine.