Tuesday, March 10, 2009

ALL ENGLAND Badminton C'ships 2009

Last Sunday night, 2 days ago, I had front row seat to the ALL ENGLAND OPEN BADMINTON Championships which was aired "Live" on our TV channel. Yes...my front row seat right in front of my beautiful Toshiba 42 inch TV screen. If there is anything that can dislodge my regular soccer dates with the likes of Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea or Arsenal, not forgetting Barcelona and Real Madrid or even Inter Milan and Juventus...well this is the thing... the ALL ENGLAND !
I have followed the ALL ENGLAND faithfully for as long as I can remember.

The prestigious ALL ENGLAND is the BIG ONE that all the top-notch ranked players would never want to miss.
And unk Dicko is included. No, I'm not a top rank player. I mean I will not want to miss catching all the Super-duper action from the word, " Love-all. Play! " And there are golden nuggets of tidbits and information from the live commentary as well as the post-game interviews with the players.

The mighty Chinese team swept all 5 titles at stake in impressive fashion. The last time this happened was in 1948 by Denmark with their famed super stars then.

In 1987, China took all 5 titles on homesoil.,,so that was different.
After the 2008 Olympics where they clinched 3 Golds out of 5, losing out the men's doubles and the mixed doubles, CHINA went into reinforced training, avoiding participation in the last Super series. They were criticised by the World body but I think to them the ALL ENGLAND is the right time and moment to banish the ghost of Beijing Olympics....especially for their top-rated doubles pair of Cai Yun and Fu Haifeng.

The historic win started out with He Hanbin and Yu Yang taking the Mixed Doubles title. Next up was probably what the whole world was waiting for...Lin Dan vs Lee Chong Wei, a rematch of their Beijing Olympics Final where the former made mincemeat of the latter. In the months since then, Chong Wei had won several Open titles and was ranked # 1 in the world. I saw him in action and he was in superb form. On the other hand, no one had any clear idea about Lin Dan...post-Olympic. It was to be a most entertaining match when the 2 adversaries strode onto the court to begin battle for the unofficial world Champ status. In 9 previous meetings between the two, Lee had lost 8 times! So that must be a very big psychological barrier to overcome. And that was how it turned out to be. Lin Dan was able to pull out " the hidden aces" when it mattered and in a flash, the 1st game was over at 21-19. The 2nd game was taken at 21-12. There was simply no answer by Lee. Most of the points he gained were from Lin's own errors. So Lin Dan collected his Trophy...for the 4th time.

The Women's Doubles were an all China affair with Zhang Yawen and Zhao Ting clinching it.

Then came the Ladies Singles event. Tine Rasmussen of Denmark, who holds the title, versus Wang Yihan the 21 year old from Shanghai. Tine, with her muscular frame and even hotter performance, has set the Badminton world on fire since last year. But no one can be blamed if they had asked "Wang ? Wang who?" about her opponent. She is the world Junior Champion and is ranked # 8 in world rankings. However, after the way she beat T Rasmussen and clinch the title at only her 2nd attempt, no one would again ask "Wang who?" Wang Yihan may turn out to be the new darling of China's Badminton. She won in 3 games with scores of 21-19, 21-23, 21-11. Her easy and relaxed movements on court, deadly accuracy with pin-point cross-court drops and sideline smashes, her retrieval ability...were magic to the eyes. So up to that point...it was CHINA 4-0 up.
The last match of the evening was the Men's Doubles between Cai Yun and Fu Haifeng vs the Korean pair of Han and Hwang. I had watched Cai and Fu a long time ago. On their day, no one could touch them. But losing that Olympic Final on home soil was a really hard act to swallow.
Since then, they have remained "hidden" in reinforced training. No idea how good they still are.The Korean pair is also new...but has slaughtered a few top-notch pairs enroute.
So...what a tremendous battle it turned out to be.
Unk Dicko has never seen Cai and Fu play any better than that game.
And I'm a doubles specialist myself !
They hammered the Koreans 21-17 and 21-15.
CHINA 5, the rest 0.!!!

Other posts: Read about the day I played against Zhao Jianhua, former World Badminton Champion....here : http://uncledicko.blogspot.com/search/label/Zhao%20jianhua

No comments: