ASIAN JUNIORS 2015 SF – Chen goes for 6th and 7th

China’s Chen Qingchen looks to tie Lee Yong Dae with 7 career Asian Junior titles while Thai hopes rest on young Pornpawee Chochuwong. By Don Hearn.  Photos: Badmintonphoto (archives) China’s […]

China’s Chen Qingchen looks to tie Lee Yong Dae with 7 career Asian titles while Thai hopes rest on young Pornpawee Chochuwong.

By Don Hearn.  Photos: Badmintonphoto (archives)

China’s Chen Qingchen (pictured, with Jia Yifan) announced her status as a player to look out for three years ago.  In 2012, she reached the girls’ doubles semi-final at the Asian Junior Championships and then followed it up a few months later by appearing at the same stage in a Grand Prix Gold event, all at the tender age of 15.

Now, in her last year as a junior, Chen is already a force for the present, not only the future.  Mere months after winning her first World Junior title, in late 2013, she already had her first Grand Prix Gold title and early last year, she quickly added Asian and World Junior titles in mixed and girls’ doubles to her collection.  Then she went on to collect two more Grand Prix Gold mixed titles, with her partner this week in Bangkok, Zheng Siwei.

On Sunday, Chen is the odds-on favourite to repeat as champion in both doubles disciplines and if she can do that, she will equal Lee Yong Dae’s record of seven Asian Junior titles.  Lee took boys’ doubles from 2004 to 2006, winning mixed as well in the last two years and he added a boys’ team title in 2005 and the first ever mixed team title the following year.

Chen is looking for her third and fourth individual titles and has been on the winning mixed team for three years running.

Both of Chen’s partners are playing in the level doubles final for the third straight year.  Her girls’ doubles partner, Jia Yifan, beat Chen in 2013 before teaming up with her to win the title last year.  Her mixed partner Zheng Siwei was the runner-up in 2013, then won last year with Huang Kaixiang and will be looking to assist new partner He Jiting to his first Asian Junior title.

Koreans vie for two

While China has locked up the boys’ and girls’ doubles titles, two obstacles to a Chinese sweep come from the Koreans.  Kim Hye Jeong (pictured above), daughter of 1992 Olympic gold medallist Chung So Young, prevailed over opponent Du Yue once but couldn’t do it a second time.

Kim and Choi Jong Woo got the better of He Jiting and Du Yue in the first match of the afternoon, winning in straight games.  While He had a easy time beating his Korean opponents in boys’ doubles, the same could not be said for Du.  She and Li Yinhui went a game down to Kim and Park Keun Hye before finally edging the Koreans out 21-19 after 72 minutes of play.

Seo Seung Jae got the better of Lu Chia Hung in their semi-final.  He thus earned a first-ever showdown with reigning World Junior Champion Lin Guipu (pictured).  Both Seo and the Choi/Kim partnership were victorious on their last trip to Thailand, when the trio won two titles each at the Granular Junior International in January.  They are all facing daunting odds in the final this weekend, however.

One last hope for Thailand

Apart from the mixed doubles, girls’ singles is the only discipline where the top seed has survived until the final.  He Bingjiao is also the only one other than Chen and Zheng to currently be in possession of a Grand Prix Gold title.  He was the winner in three games over German Junior winner Goh Jin Wei of Malaysia.

Her opponent will be Thailand’s own Pornpawee Chochuwong (pictured).  Chochuwong and He actually met at the Asian Juniors before, in 2013.  At the time, they were Asian Champions in the under-17 and under-15 categories respectively and although Chochuwong was the one who had already been in an International Challenge final, He emerged with the victory in three games.

China has not swept the individual gold medals in the Asian Juniors since Kyoto in 2000, when would-be World Champions Lin Dan, Zhang Yawen, and Zheng Bo all won titles.  As for Thailand, despite the many titles they’ve won since 2009 in the World Juniors, a victory for Chochuwong would be a first for her nation in the history of this event.

Finals line-up
GS: He Bingjiao (CHN) [1] vs. Pornpawee Chochuwong (THA) [8]
XD: Zheng Siwei / Chen Qingchen (CHN) [1] vs. Choi Jong Woo / Kim Hye Jeong (KOR) [2]
BS: Seo Seung Jae (KOR) [4] vs. Lin Guipu (CHN) [6]
GD: Chen Qingchen / Jia Yifan (CHN) [3] vs. Du Yue / Li Yinhui (CHN)
BD: He Jiting / Zheng Siwei (CHN) [2] vs. Han Chengkai / Zhou Haodong (CHN)

Click here for complete semi-final 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 @