WORLD JUNIORS 2014 – Cloud nine for China

China’s junior players were on cloud nine after beating Indonesia en route to winning their 9th Suhandinata Cup. Story and photos by Chee Ying Fan, Badzine Correspondent live in Alor […]

China’s players were on cloud nine after beating Indonesia en route to winning their 9th Suhandinata Cup.

Story and photos by Chee Ying Fan, Badzine Correspondent live in Alor Setar

Sultan Abdul Halim Stadium was only partially filled due to the absence of host country in action.  However, despite the comparatively less attention paid to the junior game – even in badminton-mad Malaysia, famous for its huge, appreciative crowds – the stadium was filled with loud cheers from both China and Indonesia team-mates whenever their respective teams scored a point.  Looking conspicuous in their fluorescent orange jerseys, the China team kept their flag waving enthusiastically throughout the final.

It was so near yet so far for Indonesia.  That is the phrase that describe how close Indonesia was to winning their first Suhandinata Cup, the mixed team competition of the BWF World Junior Championships.  The score for all three matches was so close and each could have gone either way.

It is to the Indonesians’ credit that they were able to keep the scores so close.  China, the favourites, had 4 reigning Asian Junior Champions in their line-up, while the only exception to that pattern, He Bingjiao, already has a Grand Prix title to her name.  What’s more all three of China’s doubles pairs have experience in Grand Prix Gold finals.

Huang Kaixiang / Chen Qingchen (pictured), who themselves actually already have the India Grand Prix Gold title to their name, scored the 1st point for China, beating Muhammad Rian Ardianto / Rosyita Eka Putri Sari. Ardianto and Putri Sari fought back after they lost the 1st game to force the deciding game before bowing to the Chinese players, 14-21, 21-17, 17-21.

Indonesia’s hopes were then on Jonatan Christie, currently the world #1 ranked junior, to level the score against #2, and Asian Junior Champion, Shi Yuqi (pictured).  Christie and Shi both exchanged leads in the 1st game but Shi finally won it 21-19.

Shi looked set to win the 2nd game convincingly when he took a comfortable 10-3 lead.  Motivated by his team-mates’ loud cheers, Christie played brilliantly to score 6 consecutive points, giving him an 11-10 lead at the match interval.  He continued to lead throughout the game and held game points at 20-17 but Shi saved all the 3 game points with an effective playing style, moving Christie around the four corners of the court and finally won it 22-20.

Both Muhammad Rian Ardianto and Huang Kaixiang were then back on court again.  This time for the men’s doubles match.  Rian and Clinton Hendrik Kudamasa (pictured below) shouldered Indonesia’s expectation to keep their hopes alive.  They displayed a fast, attacking game to win the 1st game 22-20.  However, China’s Huang and his partner Zheng Siwei unleashed their smashes to win the 2nd game.

In the crucial deciding game, China’s reigning Asian Junior Champions continued their attacking game, forcing the Indonesia players to dive at times to return their smashes.  Finally, China celebrated victory when they won the match 21-18, bringing smiles to head coach, Li Yongbo.

“I feel sad,” said Jonatan Christie (pictured bottom) after the final tie had ended.  “We defeated China in the semi-finals last year but today, we lost to them.  That’s badminton.  We don’t know what will happen in a match.”

Christie was modest when asked about his target for the individual events, where he is the top seed: “I will do my best and focus on one match at a time.”

All players will now eye the Eye-Levels Cups, as the individual events are now known.  They will start on Sunday, 13th April 2014.

Mixed Team Final Result: China 3, Indonesia 0
XD: Huang Kaixiang / Chen Qingchen (CHN) beat Muhammad Rian Ardianto / Rosyita Eka Putri Sari (INA)  21-14, 17-21, 21-17
MS: Shi Yuqi (CHN) beat Jonatan Christie (INA) 21-19, 22-20
MD: Huang Kaixiang / Zheng Siwei (CHN) beat Muhammad Rian Ardianto / Clinton Hendrik Kudamasa (INA) 20-22, 21-12, 21-18
WS: He Bingjiao (CHN) vs. Hartawan Ruseli (INA) [not played]
WD: Chen Qingchen / Jia Yifan (CHN) vs. Rosyita Eka Putri Sari / Apriani Rahayu (INA) [not played]

Click here for complete, detailed results


About Chee Ying Fan