WORLDS 2013 Day 1 – Smooth opener for in-form “near-locals”

Hong Kong’s Lee Chun Hei / Chau Hoi Wah cruised through their first-round match at the Wang Lao Ji BWF World Championships, but said it was more than the momentum […]

Hong Kong’s Lee Chun Hei / Chau Hoi Wah cruised through their first-round match at the Wang Lao Ji BWF , but said it was more than the momentum of two straight tournament victories.

By Don Hearn, Badzine Correspondent live in Guangzhou.  Photos: Badmintonphoto (live)

Lee Chun Hei and Chau Hoi Wah (pictured) came into these World Championships on a roll, having won both the U.S. and Canada Opens last month.  Nor did they have to come very far, as their home base of Hong Kong is closer to the venue than that of any of their competitors here in Guangzhou, China.

The two players, who were first paired up last October, sailed past their opponents ennadiy Natarov / Yuliya Kazarinova of Ukraine in a pair of 21-9 games.

Chau Hoi Wah denied that requiring only a short trip up the Pearl River was a factor for them: “Actually, it feels very much the same because we are used to travelling around the world.

“The two straight titles have been good for our confidence,” continued Chau, “but we realize that this is a whole different class of tournament so we are trying not to be too serious when we have to play the world’s top players.

“I think that this is the most comfortable partnership I’ve ever had.  Our thinking is so similar that it has made it very easy to adapt, even if we have had some problems.”

Lee Chun Hei will also be playing a first-round men’s doubles match with his partner Ng Ka Long, with whom he won Hong Kong’s first ever World Junior Championship title last November.  However, the pair have not been seen internationally since then, apart from one appearance at the Badminton Asia Championships in the spring as Ng has been focussing on his singles and Lee on mixed.

“I don’t know whether the men’s doubles pairing will continue,” said Lee.  “That is up to our coaches.

“Playing with Ng Ka Long at this tournament is no problem for us, though, because we have played together for so long, since we were very young.  Being on court together still feels the same.  Besides, we also played together at the All-China Games this year.”

“We haven’t really set any goals for the World Championships,” said Chau.  “We kind of have the feeling that we just want to enjoy every match and not to feel pressure.

“It’s funny that our feeling is the same, that we want to enjoy each match and if we win, that will be wonderful.”

It was another match in mixed doubles that brought the first roar from the crowd on opening day at the Worlds. Hirokatsu Hashimoto (pictured) and Miyuki Maeda of Japan had some brilliant rallies with Tarun Kona and Ashwini Ponnappa of India in a match that went right down to the wire before the Japanese pair won it 21-18, 12-21, 21-19.

Click here for complete Day 1 results

Don Hearn

About Don Hearn

Don Hearn is an Editor and Correspondent who hails from a badminton-loving town in rural Canada. He joined the Badzine team in 2006 to provide coverage of the Korean badminton scene and is committed to helping Badzine to promote badminton to the place it deserves as a global sport. Contact him at: don @