MANILA, Philippines — China maintained its dominance of the Asian badminton scene after winning three golds, one silver and two bronzes at the Smart Badminton Asia Championships, which ended on Sunday at the Muntinlupa Sports Complex in Muntinlupa City.
World No. 1 and reigning world champions Chen Qing Chen and Jia Yi Fan led the charge for the China national badminton team after their dominant run in women’s doubles.
Chen and Jia underscored this with a solid work on Japan’s Rin Iwanaga and Kie Nakanishi in the final, 21-11, 21-15.
Chen and Jia accumulated 12,000 BWF World Ranking points to extend their lead at the top of the rankings, while Iwanaga and Nakanishi earned 10,200. Other semi-finalists Du Yue and Li Minwei of China, and Yuki Fukushima and Sayaka Hirota of Japan collected 8,400 points for each pair.
In an all-Chinese mixed doubles affair, world no.
This is the first Asian title for the 2019 World Champion after winning bronze medals in 2018 and 2019.
With the win, Zheng and Huang Ya Qiong gained 12,000 points for the BWF World Ranking, while Wang and Huang Dong Ping received 10,200. Semi-finalists Praveen Jordan and Melati Daeva Oktaviani of Indonesia, and Yuta Watanabe and Arisa Higashino of Japan earned 8,400 points.
After fending off Wang and Huang in that tight first set, the Tokyo 2022 Olympic Games silver medalists retired early in the second set by six straight points to lead 9-2.
Wang and Huang’s lead then increased to double digits, 15-5 to practically seal their fate with a first-ever Asian championship.
Rounding out the China run was world No. 16 Wang Zhi Yi, who recorded a 15-21, 21-13, 21-19 win over favored world No. 2 Akane Yamaguchi of Japan in women’s singles.
2019 champion Yamaguchi tried to salvage her reign with four straight points to reduce the deficit to 11-17 in the third and deciding game. Yamaguchi eventually forced a deadlock at 19-all, with Wang blundering on a drop attempt.
The newly crowned Wang said through an interpreter, “I was excited to win the championship. It was incredible and unimaginable because no one thought I would win the title, including myself.
“Yamaguchi is a very tough opponent, so I had to adjust my mentality to make some difficult decisions in the game,” added the 22-year-old Shashi, Jingzhou native.
Yamaguchi previously stamped her class and took advantage of the set by capitalizing on Wang’s error late in the frame. The 24-year-old had to catch up in the second set and slightly injured her left knee trying to save the ball.
Wang also capitalized on her opponent’s mistakes and found her own shots to send the match into a deciding set.
China’s two bronze medals came in men’s singles with Weng Hong Yang and women’s doubles with Du Yue and Li Wen Mei.
Malaysia and Indonesia also made history with the first-ever Asian titles for Lee Zii Jia in men’s singles and pairing Pramudya Kusumawardana and Yeremia Erich Yoche Yacob Rambitan in men’s doubles.
World No. 7 Lee fended off Indonesia’s Jonatan Christie in the second set to win the title 21-17, 23-21. Meanwhile, Kusumawardana and Rambitan stunned world No. 9 Soh Wooi Yik and Malaysia’s Aaron Chia, 23-21, 21-10.
Almost two years and seven months after winning his first-ever gold at the Southeast Asian Games at that very venue, Lee celebrated another first with that Asian title.
“This is a very special place for me,” Lee shared. “I would like to thank the fans in the Philippines and around the world, especially my hometown of Malaysia, for the support. I think this is the best gift for her. That way I will repay them and hopefully more. “
The 24-year-old Malaysian had to fend off Christie twice in both frames, where he earned the first set due to errors by the Indonesian.
Christie threatened to force a deciding set after a four-point swing saw him at play point. Missteps late in the game for the 2018 Asian Games champion then took the set to 22 before Lee bagged the last two points that sealed the title in his favor.
“Jonatan did his best to end the game in the second set but I told myself to stay calm in the situation,” said the 2022 All-England champion.