Monday, May 20, 2019
TEXT BY GAYLE ALLEYNE | BADMINTONPHOTO
In the absence of their injured seniors, Korea’s young guns stepped up to guide their country into the TOTAL BWF Sudirman Cup 2019 quarterfinals tonight in Nanning, China.
Starting with victory in mixed doubles (Seo Seung Jae/Chae Yujung), followed by wins in women’s singles, women’s doubles and men’s doubles, the defending champions ensured their place among the last eight by beating Hong Kong 4-1 in Group 1C.
This result sealed the Koreans’ progress into the knockout phase of the World Mixed Team Championships as Hong Kong had already lost to Chinese Taipei.
Among the stars of the night was rising women’s singles player, An Se Young, who displayed composure beyond her youthful age to give a polished performance on Sudirman Cup debut.
The 17-year-old routed the experienced Cheung Ngan Yi, 21-8 21-12, to put Korea 2-0 ahead.
Heo Kwang Hee appeared on track to do likewise against Ng Ka Long Angus but the latter tightened his play in the dying stages of their men’s singles battle.
By contrast, a flurry of errors suddenly came from Heo’s racket as he squandered a 13-7 lead in the decider; Ng prevailing 21-19 17-21 21-16 to keep Hong Kong’s hopes alive at 1-2 down.
However, such aspirations were short-lived, thanks to a clinical women’s doubles execution by Kim So Yeong and Kong Hee Yong, swatting aside Ng Tsz Yau/Yuen Sin Ying (21-4 21-12) to wrest the honours for Korea much to the delight of their cheering teammates.
Quote of the Session
“I was nervous but my coach told me that I must get accustomed to senior level quickly to play here at the Sudirman Cup. It was a tough match and I’m happy to win,” said a thrilled An.
“We may not be at our strongest, but we will try our best to defend our title.”
Canada and Germany Remain Undefeated
Canada and Germany will clash on Wednesday to decide the winner of Group 2B.
“We’re very happy that we won today. We have a short break before our match against Canada, but we’ll most likely spend that time with our physio and do some light training,” said Lamsfuss.
Canada produced a whitewash against Israel 5-0.
Brittney Tam saw off the challenge from Ksenia Polikarpova in women’s singles 21-15 25-23 – a close contest between the world No. 55 and world No. 56.
“We had a big match yesterday which was great for our team. But we did not slack today as we have a big match coming up against Germany and I’m looking forward to it,” Tam said.
For full results, click here.