YOUTH OLYMPICS Day 1 – Some upsets at the kick-off

Following the triumph of his compatriots, who won on Friday in boys’ soccer, unseeded local boy Huang Chao (pictured) also got host city Singapore to a roaring start when he […]

Following the triumph of his compatriots, who won on Friday in boys’ soccer, unseeded local boy Huang Chao (pictured) also got host city Singapore to a roaring start when he caused an upset against second seed Sairaneeth Bhamidipati of India 21-12, 18-21, 21-17, on the first day of the badminton event.

By Timothy Chan, Badzine Correspondent, reporting from Singapore. Photos: Badmintonphoto (live)

It was a sweet victory for Huang Chao, who played the match in front of his father, Huang Kai, a former Chinese national player. Chao had not seen his father for six years since leaving Hubei in 2004 for Singapore to play for Team Singapore. Huang became a Singaporean under the Foreign Talent Scheme (FST) in January this year. He is very happy with the win to do his father and Singapore proud and will do his very best in the next 2 matches to secure that quarter-final berth. “I want to get a medal,” was his ‘aggressive’ answer when asked for his expectations at the YOG. Though Huang is an aggressive, attacking player, his coach felt that he must improve further to be a balanced player, not just focusing on the attack aspect only. There are two top players he wants to face and beat at the YOG: they are Huang Yuxiang of China and Loh Wei Sheng of Malaysia. He wants to take up this daunting challenge though he had lost to both of them before.

Besides Huang, it was during the early morning at 9 o’clock with the encouraging attendance of many student spectators that Josephine Wentholt (pictured) of the Netherlands also registered an upset to shock top seed Matsutomo Misaki of Japan 21-17, 5-21, 21-19. Wentholt, this badminton competition’s tallest girl, and an 18-year-old just as of August 3, is very happy to be playing in such a big event like the and in front of a big crowd of spectators. It will be a memorable experience she will never forget. Later in the evening, Wentholt chalked up her second win when she beat Tracy Wong of Canada 21-15, 21-18 to take a step nearer to the quarter-final.

Misaki, who is also 18, is a very experienced player having participated in many senior tournaments. She is talented in both singles and doubles and in fact her best ever international outing was in Belgium last year, where she won doubles and lost the singles final narrowly to the top player from the Netherlands. So she was shocked to be defeated by Wentholt in her first match but she was feeling better after she won her second match easily against Kate Foo Kune of Mauritius 21-4, 21-2. In fact, Misaki has just recovered from a thigh injury which she sustained during training after she arrived in Singapore three days ago. That probably explained on her upset loss to Wentholt. She said that though seeded no. 1 does add a little pressure, she is still trying to enjoy her game to do away with the pressure. So tomorrow she will go all out to win when she plays her third match and she will hope for the best to happen in the other matches by her opponents in Pool A.

C’est la VIE?

Matsutomo’s compatriot, second-seeded Fukuman Naoko, got a boost on the first day of competition when German Open champion Choe Hye In of Korea was beaten in three games by Vietnam’s Vu Thi Trang. Meanwhile, the other Japanese seed, Kento Horiuchi in the boys’ singles, also suffered an upset, to Indonesia’s unseeded Evert Sukamta, who is now sitting pretty with two wins in his pool.

Many had expected China to be represented by Asian Junior Champion Suo Di in the girls’ singles category but it was another player by the name Deng Xuan (pictured) who turned up at the YOG. Nevertheless, Deng, who is accompanied by coach Chen Yu, had no problems winning both her matches today. In the morning, she beat Katherine Winder of Peru 21-12, 21-5. In her second match, she beat Victoria Cheng of New Zealand 2-0. Deng credited her wins today to her coach and the good and complete preparation for this tournament.

“I must not feel pressure. I must do my best to overcome all difficulties,” Deng said, when asked what she needed to do to progress further and achieve more good results. Her expected tough opponent to meet in the quarter-final stage is third seed Carolina Marin of Spain, who also won both of her matches easily.

Another Youth Olympian who shone today is Flemming Quach (pictured), from powerhouse Denmark. Coached by the legendary Morten Frost, this Chinese-born 18-year-old enjoyed a straight-game win over Sweden’s Mikael Westerback 22-20, 21-9. He is looking forward to playing the seeded Pisit Poodchalat of Thailand tomorrow to record another upset of a seeded player and add more wins to get to the quarter-finals.

He said that he is lucky to be at the YOG at the expense of Axelsen Victor, the current world junior singles champion. “My uncle took me to the badminton courts. I found it fun and interesting, and then started in my club, Aarhus Badmintonklub” said Flemming, who started playing badminton at the age of 10.

The top qualifier from Europe in the boys’ event, Kasper Lehikoinen of Finland, went down in two games of 14-21 to Hsieh Feng-Tse of Chinese Taipei.

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If you want to book a room during the event or anytime you are visiting Singapore, feel free to visit the website of our partner hotel the Grand Mercure Roxy Hotel.  A classy and great Hotel only minutes away from the Stadium and a short haul from the city Center. Click HERE

About Timothy Chan