China beat Korea to retain Badminton Asia Mixed Team Championship title
Dubai: Promising women’s doubles duo Liu Sheng Shu and Tan Ning claimed the winning points for China as Blue Ocean Badminton Asia Mixed Team Championship came to a close at the Expo City-Dubai Exhibition Centre on Sunday.
Sheng Shu and Ning defeated the Korean pair of Jeong Na Eun and Lee So Hee 21-11, 21-10 in the fourth rubber as China defeated South Korea 3-1 to defend their 2019 title with ease. Team India and Thailand were the bronze medallist after they finished as the losing semi-finalists, while all the four teams qualified for the Sudirman Cup scheduled for May 2023 in China.
Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan, Minister of Tolerance and Coexistence, presented the trophy to Team China, while Badminton Asia treasurer Jassem Kanso and secretary-general Moosa Nashid, UAE Badminton Federation President Noora Aljasmi were also part present during the awards ceremony.
Earlier, rising stars Lei Lan Xi and Gao Fang Jie, who defeated Indian aces H.S. Prannoy and P.V. Sindhu in the semi-finals, continued to give China a winning start by clinching the men’s and women’s singles matches.
Gao, who has returned to international competitions only last year after a long layoff due to ankle injury, was happy to execute her plans in the match against Kim Ga Eun. “This was the last opportunity to give my full potential, so I displayed all tactics and strategy. My goal is to qualify for top-grade tournaments. There is plenty of team spirit in our squad and players cheer for each other.”
Korea’s men’s doubles pair of Kim Won-ho and Na Sung-seung came up with a spirited show to beat He Ji Ting and Zhou Hao Dong 21-19, 16-21, 17-21 to bring a point to Korea. “We changed the strategy after the first game as they were very good in drives. We tried to place the shuttle in the four corners and it worked. We are happy to bring the first point to Korea,” said Won-Ho, who was part of Korea’s mixed team winning side in Gold Coast 2017 Sudirman Cup.
The men’s doubles pairs’ win, however, couldn’t help Korea as they lost the next match.
China head coach Xia Xuan Ze was happy with the young team’s show at the continental championship and said: “The championship was a great learning experience for these young players, and this will help them improve their games.”
He also singled out the women’s doubles pair of Sheng Shu and Ning, who have stepped up in the final after losing their matches in the last two rounds. “They are all young players. And these experiences will help them grow as a player. The mixed doubles and women’s doubles are very promising, and we have good hopes from them in future.
“These players will be aiming to qualify for Paris 2024 and Los Angeles 2028 Olympics,” said Ze, an All-England Open Badminton champion adding that “regular practice” have been the reason for their success.
Badminton Asia praises organisers
Meanwhile, Badminton Asia secretary general Moosa Nashid congratulated the local organisers, the Blue Ocean Corporation and Beyond Boundaries, for the hosting a successful event.
“This was a dream come true for us to have an event of this magnitude in Dubai. We feel the gravity of badminton here. This is the first time, the championship moved to West Asia and its impact is visible.
“We are amazed to see the amount of involvement from all the stakeholders in these Championships. This is one the best tournaments we have had in this part of Asia,” he added.