China wins three golds after mixed doubles upset

Badminton powerhouse China clinched three golds in the Badminton Asia Championships Sunday but they fell short of earlier expectations after losing to South Korea in the mixed doubles.

  • Published: 22/04/2013 at 01:49 AM
  • Newspaper section: news

Wang Xiaoli (C-L) and Yu Yang (C-R) of China celebrate after their women's doubles final of the Badminton Asia Championships in Taipei on April 21, 2013.

The three golds -- in the women's singles and doubles and men's singles -- compared with five they swept in the 2011 Asian tournament and four in the 2012 event.

Ko Sung-hyun and Kim Ha-Na of South Korea beat Zhang Nan and Zhao Yunlei, the boyfriend-girlfriend partnership who won the mixed doubles gold medals in London, 22-20, 21-17 in the biggest upset of the event that drew more than 6,000 fans in Taipei.

"The biggest surprise definitely was China's loss in the mixed doubles," an official with the organisers Chinese Taipei Badminton Association told AFP.

"China was relatively weak in the men's doubles at the games as their London Olympics gold medalists in the men's doubles skipped the tournament," he said, referring to Cai Yun and Fu Haifeng.

Both of China's teams lost out in the quarter-finals of men's doubles, leaving two South Korean pairs to eventually vie for the top spot.

The first-seeded Ko Sung-Hyun and Lee Yong-Dae saw off third-seeded Kim Ki-Jung and Kim Sa-Rang 21-13, 22-20.

In the women's singles, the second-seeded Wang Yihan beat her Chinese compatriot Li Xuerui, the London gold medalist and the first seed of the event, 21-13, 22-20.

In the men's singles, Du Pengyu, the second seed, overwhelmed Chen Long, China's bronze medalist in the 2012 Games, 21-17, 21-19.

"I should have reduced the number of errors," Du told reporters, adding that the venue was a little bit windy, which made shuttle control difficult.

Controversial Chinese women's doubles team Yu Yang and Wang Xiaoli saw off their Chinese fellow players Tang Jinhua and Ma Jin 21-15, 14-21, 21-15. The duo were booted out of the Olympics in a playing-to-lose scandal that rocked the London Games.

With some of their top Asian rivals skipping the event, Chinese players had a strong chance of replicating their achievement at the Olympics by winning all five titles on offer.

However, Chinese Olympic champion Lin Dan withdrew from the tournament over a shoulder injury on Friday. Lin has won every major title but had been off the scene since the Olympic final last August until this event.

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