ASIAN GAMES 2010 Day 6 – New Korean pair eye gold

Shin Baek Cheol and Lee Hyo Jung from Korea secured their ticket for the Asian Games Badminton mixed doubles final, after a thrilling semi against China’s He and Ma. Another […]

Shin Baek Cheol and Lee Hyo Jung from Korea secured their ticket for the Badminton mixed doubles final, after a thrilling semi against China’s He and Ma. Another Chinese hurdle lies ahead with Zhang and Zhao. Wang Shixian won the women’s singles gold.

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

Lee Yong Dae’s elbow injury made at least one man happy. And maybe a whole nation, if, in Lee’s stead, Shin Baek Cheol and Lee Hyo Jung (photo)  make it all the way to the gold medal. One step to go, as the “almost” scratch pair from Korea entered the final in the most appealing way on Saturday, wasting four match points to see He Hanbin and Ma Jin (photo) come back from 16-20 to 20-20 in the decider before the Koreans finally won the nail-biting tiebreaker and celebrated in the suddenly silenced hall.

The third game was incredibly tense and I made a lot of mistakes, but my partner kept cheering for me by tapping me with her racket. I was so happy after our win, I didn’t know what to feel,” said Shin Baek Cheol, who was clearly a little boy asking for advice after each and every one of the wasted match points.

For Hyo Jung, experience made the trick towards the end. “I thought, what is going on? We lost 4 match points and I didn’t know what had happened to us, so I just encouraged my partnered and focused 100% on the next two points,” said an elated Hyo Jung.

Replacement Killer

Shin Baek Cheol has a long experience as a “wildcard”. It goes back more than three years, when he replaced Lee Yong Dae as Yoo Hyun Young’s partner for her World Junior Championship title defense attempt.  Later, when Jung Jae Sung was committed to his army duty, Shin was the one partnering Lee Yong Dae for some good wins in Europe in early 2009. And then again, a few months ago, when Lee got injured, his understudy had to fill in the shoes of the Olympic gold medallist in the Thomas Cup and then again in the mixed where he and Lee Hyo Jung played in the Indonesia Super Series, where they had some good wins.

Nearly 9 years apart in age – Lee’s turning 30 in January while Shin only turned 21 last month – both of them will be eager to win the gold medal as neither has won any at the Asian Games.  Lee Hyo Jung failed to win the Doha Gold while it’s Shin’s first major event. “He will be good in the future when he can be stronger mentally,” said Hyo Jung of her young, new partner.

The duo will take on Zhao Yunlei and Zhang Nan, who stunned Chinese Taipei’s Chen and Chien in straight games 21-16, 21-15.

On the podium: Wang Xin (CHN, silver), Wang Shixian (CHN, gold), Yip Pui Yin (HKG, bronze), Eriko Hirose (JPN, bronze)

Disappointing Xin, Golden Shixian

The women’s singles final was up next and as it often happens in major competitions – and when two compatriots meet – the show of the final was way below standard. Wang Shixian was being her usual self cheering but Wang Xin was only the shadow of the talented girl she is. Whether it was the medal at stake, or her friend on the other side of the court, Xin was simply unrecognizable, making one mistake after the other, especially in the second game, when she would spend more time nodding her hear sideways in despair than actually hitting the shuttles.

The match went by quickly and Shixian took it home in straight games, 21-18, 21-15. There were two other smiling girls on the podium,  however, as alongside Wangs Xin and Shixian were Japan’s Eriko Hirose and Hong Kong’s Yip Pui Yin (pictured with the finalists), who certainly did not expect to be back in the hall on Saturday to collect their medals – the first for Hirose and the second for Yip after Doha’s incredible silver.

All results HERE

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.