WORLDS 2015 Day 1 – Continental medallists duke it out

Pan Am and African players made their presence felt early on Day 1 of the Total BWF World Championships.  Rachel Honderich and Howard Shu both severely threatened former top ten […]

Pan Am and African players made their presence felt early on Day 1 of the Total BWF .  Rachel Honderich and Howard Shu both severely threatened former top ten players but Edwin Ekiring came up with the first intercontinental singles upset.

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

Pan Am Games silver medallist Rachel Honderich (pictured below) of Canada came out firing against former world #10 Petya Nedelcheva of Bulgaria.  Honderich took one game and then just when it looked like the Bulgarian had turned things around in the second game, when she got out to a 16-10 lead, Honderich finally found a way to deal with the draft and clawed her way back to earn two match points.

Nedelcheva, who played her first World Championships back in 1999, held her nerve and closed out the second.  She then ran away with the decider and left Honderich to ponder her chances in her mixed doubles match later in the day.

Shortly afterward, an even bigger upset was brewing as Pan Am Games bronze medallist Howard Shu of the United States had world #20 Wei Nan (pictured top) on the ropes.  Shu evened the match at one game apiece by fighting for the second game and taking it 26-24.

He then blew out to an incredible 12-2 lead in the decider, only to watch the Hong Kong shuttler chip away at the point difference and eventually close it out 21-18.

“I continued to take chances but I got unlucky and missed some net kill opportunities,” explained Shu after the match.  “He started getting comfortable at the net and made some really tight net shots.

“The wind made it tough more in the first and second games but in the third, I wasn’t doing any lifting, I was just trying to play the net but he was able to counter with his net game.

“He is the Asian games bronze medallist so I had nothing to lose coming in unseeded.  When I took the second game, I said, hey, let’s just go for it in the third, try my best.  I came out to a fast start but he showed his experience.

“Coming here with the bronze from the Pan Am Games, I came out with some momentum and I wanted to carry it over here and give him a run for his money but unfortunately, I couldn’t win.”

Almost simultaneously, Edwin Ekiring, who also won continental bronze in his last African Championship in 2011, made his way into the second round with a straight-game win over Dmytro Zavadsky of Ukraine.

“It was pretty tough because Zavadsky is quite good so to win in two games is really good,” said Edwin Ekiring afterward.  “And to win a round in the World Championships is very good for Africa.”

“This is my second time in the World Championships and the last time, too, I won my first match but this time, to win against Zavadsky is really good for my confidence because he is a very good player.

“I was practicing with Dicky Palyama and the Dutch National Team so I had some good training.

“My target was to win the first round because every round you win, it gets tougher.”

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 @