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China reigns supreme in badminton

20 January 2013

BADMINTON: China has won all but one gold medal in the badminton at the Australian Youth Olympic Festival (AYOF).

Expectations were always high for the team, but their results in this competition have been outstanding.

The first gold medal was awarded to China’s mixed doubles pair, Tianyi Pei and Xiaohan Yu, who defeated China’s other mixed doubles pair, Ningyi Zhang and Yaqiong Huang.

China’s unseeded women’s singles player Jinjing Qin upset the number one seed, Malaysian Yin Fun Lim, squealing with delight after each point she made.

This victory was on the back of another upset in the semi-finals against the second seed.

There was great anticipation for the men’s singles match between China’s Song Xue and Malaysia’s Joo Ven Soong.

The hype was not misguided; it was a spectacularly high quality match.

Xue was yet to be defeated in his five matches, while Soong’s only loss had been to Xue in the first place playoff for the team event.

“I knew his style which was good, but he also knew mine, so it was tougher than the other day,” Xue said.

“I expected to win; I am aiming for number one.”

The opening points were of an extremely high intensity; the rapid fire rallies so powerful that the players went through five shuttlecocks in the first game alone, and only 20 points into the match Soong was forced to replace his racquet.

Such was the standard of play that when Soong made the basic error of serving into the net, spectators let out a collective groan.

Xue eventually won 21-17, 21-18, despite an outburst during the second game wherein he loudly protested at the linesman the decision that his racquet had reached over the net after he seemingly won a point.

Played at a similar pace, the women’s doubles match, also between China and Malaysia, was a more equally matched affair, but the Malaysian pair was at last able to win their first and only gold in the badminton.

After a slow start that gave Malaysia’s men’s doubles team the first game, China’s Tianyi Pei and Ningyi Zhang charged home with a 21-12 final game, giving China their fourth gold medal for the day.

Chinese Taipei won three bronze medals from under the nose of Great Britain, who managed one in the men’s doubles with Aaron Cheng and Tom Wolfenden. Malaysia’s mixed doubles team also won a single bronze medal to accompany the team’s three silver medals.

Dalton Woods

Follow the AYOF on Twitter @AYOF2013 #AYOF2013 #RoadtoRio

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