Dubai: Jordan’s Bahaedeen Ahmad Alshannik’s one of the biggest dreams was to play against the world’s top players.
On Thursday, Alshannik’s dream turn real as he faced his idol, Singapore’s Loh Kean Yew in the men’s singles pre-quarter-finals of the KhiladiX.com Dubai 2023 Badminton Asia Championships. Though the Jordanian ended on the losing side, but he went home with lot of happy memories, which also included learning experiences.
“I am very proud to reach the last 16 of this prestigious event, where all the top 10 players are competing. I tried to do my best. I am happy the way I played today. I wish to pick up the skills of my opponent (Loh Kean) and may be go a step further in my next event,” said Alshannik.
“It’s good for me and the other Arab players that I reached the pre-quarters. Next time, may be I can reach the quarters and semi-finals. I want to set an example and make players from Jordan and Arab nations proud of my achievements.
“When I tried badminton, it was different from within. And I decided to continue playing the sport.
“I want to qualify for the Paris 2024 Olympics,” said the player from Amman, who has won Future Series and International in the past.
Meanwhile, Loh Kean, who won the contest 21-14, 21-14, will next face Hong Kong’s Lee Cheuk Yiu as the Dubai 2023 championships reached the midway stage and is expected to witness thrilling encounters from here on.
In another game, Indian eighth seed H.S. Prannoy was pushed to the limit by Indonesian rising star Chico Aura Dwi Wardoyo 16-21, 21-5, 18-21.
Later, second seed Anthony Sinisuka Ginting completed the men’s singles last eight line-up with a win over Kenta Nishimoto of Japan 21-18, 21-17.
Top seeds advance
In the women’s section, there were some expected results too.
Olympic champion Chen Yu Fei toyed with Japanese Aya Ohori to win 21-15, 21-15 and said she wanted to stay focus one match at a time.
“Being from Zhejiang, winning the Hangzhou 2022 Asian Games will be very important for me this year. But for now, I want to focus one game at a time and be prepared to face my opponent tomorrow,” said the Indonesia 2018 Asian Games silver medallist, who will face Gregoria Mariska Tunjung in the last-eight match on Friday.
Big test awaits Sindhu
Similarly, India’s two-time Olympic medallist P.V. Sindhu had a comfortable win against Chinese Han Yue 21-12, 21-15.
“It was a good match. I didn’t expect to win it in straight games, but happy to get the confidence ahead of tougher matches. It won’t be easy tomorrow as I face An Se Young. I haven’t had good record against her, but I will go out with all confidence. It will be an important match for me and I hope to play with a new strategy to win against her,” said Sindhu of her match against her quarter-final opponent An Se Young, the world No 2, who got the better of Busanan Ongbamrungphan in straight games 21-19, 21-16.
Among others, top seed Akane Yamaguchi defeated Chinese Taipei’s Sung Shuo Yun 21-17, 21-13 and will be facing defending champion Wang Zhi Yi of China.
Shocking exit in women’s doubles
There were a few shocking results too. Korea’s reigning All England champions Kim So Yeong and Kong Hee Yong lost to the Indonesian duo Febriana Dwipuji Kusuma and Amalia Cahaya Pratiwi after beating the Koreans in straight games 21-16, 21-16.
Meanwhile, China’s fourth seeds Zhang Shu Xian and Zheng Yu too joined the list of players who exited the championships on the day after they went down fighting to Japan’s Mayu Matsumoto and Wakana Nagahara 21-17, 20-22, 21-14.