EAST ASIAN GAMES – All but one to the home team

All-Chinese finals produced two of China’s four golds in the East Asian Games, four years after they were held to one. By Don Hearn.  Photos: China Foto Press (live) At […]

All-Chinese finals produced two of China’s four golds in the , four years after they were held to one.

By Don Hearn.  Photos: China Foto Press (live)

At the last edition of the East Asian Games, China turned up with a quality team but aside from two team golds, did not exactly achieve the quality of results to which the badminton powerhouse is accustomed.  Then hosts Hong Kong set up an in-house women’s singles final to match the luck they’d had in Doha 3 years earlier and then Asian Champions Ma Jin and Wang Xiaoli had gone down to two former compatriots then playing for Macau in the women’s doubles.

To top it all off, Lin Dan found a third Korean who was able to get the better of him as one-hit wonder Choi Ho Jin took the men’s singles gold.

This time in Tianjin, however, China made amends wherever it could.  For starters, the home team made no mistake with the singles events, taking all four finals spots and letting Du Pengyu and Wang Zhengming duke it out in the men’s, while Han Li (pictured left) shut down Wang Shixian in the women’s event.

Three of the four had to prove themselves against some of the hottest junior prospects of the moment. Han Li and Du Pengyu (pictured right) beat the Asian Junior Champion and runner-up in straight Games while Wang had her hands full but still prevailed over 16-year-old Japan Open champion Akane Yamaguchi in the semi-finals.

Both singles winners needed extra points in one game but Han Li spent nearly twice as long on court in her three-game battle with the top seed before clinching the gold with a 14-21, 21-17, 22-20 victory.

Ma Jin had her own reversal.  After two silvers in Hong Kong 4 years ago, she changed her stars and emerged victorious in China’s closest call of the afternoon.  She and regular partner Xu Chen dropped their first game to U.S. Open champions Lee Chun Hei / Chau Hoi Wah before winning the next two convincingly.

The only thing reminiscent of four years ago was the men’s doubles final, where both Chen Hung Ling and Tsai Chia Hsin were back for more.  This time, Tsai is in the in-form pair and though he repeated his victory over Chen, playing with Lee Sheng Mu, it went much more smoothly for him this time around.

Gold medal match results
WS: Han Li (CHN) beat Wang Shixian (CHN) [1] 14-21, 21-17, 22-20
XD: Xu Chen / Ma Jin (CHN) [1] beat Lee Chun Hei / Chau Hoi Wah (HKG) [2]  17-21, 21-13, 21-13
MS: Du Pengyu (CHN) [1] beat Wang Zhengming (CHN) [2]  22-20, 21-17
MD: Lee Sheng Mu / Tsai Chia Hsin (TPE) [2] beat Chen Hung Ling / Lu Chia Pin (TPE) 21-8, 21-18
WD: Ou Dongni / Tang Yuanting (CHN) beat Yuriko Miki / Koharu Yonemoto (JPN)  21-8, 21-11

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 @ badzine.net