The Chinese Junior Badminton team came to Bangkok for the Asian Juniors and accomplished everything they set out to do, adding to the team title they won on Tuesday by sweeping all five disciplines in the individual events on Sunday.
Story and photos by Gerald Jew, live in Bangkok.
With the last two matches on finals day at the SCG Badminton Asia Under-19 Championships being all-Chinese affairs, China had to win only the first three matches to insure the sweep. The Chinese team swept all five disciplines last year as well, but hadn’t managed a sweep before then since 2000.
Top-seeded He Jiting and Du Yue (pictured right) got the ball rolling by taking the first match of the day in the mixed doubles. Both He and Du were to play later in the boys’ doubles and girls’ doubles respectively. In the only 3-game match, and the closest match of the day, they were able to hang on to defeat the unseeded Korean pair of Kim Won Ho and Lee Yu Rim (pictured top), winning the close rubber, 21-19.
The next victim up was Chinese Taipei’s 7th-seeded Lee Chia Hao, who was beaten by Sun Feixiang, the 8th seed in the boys’ singles. Lee led at the first mid-game interval, but with the score tied at 13, Sun reeled off the next eight points in a row to clinch the first game. Sun had a relatively easier time in the 2nd game, winning 21-15 to take the match.
Indonesia’s Gregoria Mariska then became the last hope to avoid the Chinese sweep, as she was against 3rd-seeded Chen Yufei (pictured). The two girls were the only two finalists on the day who are ranked in the top 100 in the world, with Chen the only junior player – apart from reigning World Junior Champion Goh Jin Wei – currently in the top 50.
Mariska started well, holding three game points in the first game, but Chen was able to stave off the 4th-seeded Indonesian and finally take the first game, 25-23. Chen then clinched the sweep against a tired-looking Mariska in much easier fashion, 21-14, to win the girls’ singles gold.
In the girls’ doubles, Du Yue was able to take home her second gold medal of the day with the help of partner Xu Ya. They defeated compatriots Ni Bowen and Zhou Chaomin in a 33-minute match.
He Jiting not only failed to win his second gold medal of the day, he also failed to defend the championship he won in the boys’ doubles last year with then partner Zheng Siwei. With new partner Tan Qiang, the top-seeded duo lost in just 29 minutes to the 3rd seeded pair of Han Chengkai and Zhou Haodong (pictured bottom), whom He had beaten in the World Junior final last autumn.
XD: He Jiting / Du Yue (CHN)  beat Kim Won Ho / Lee Yu Rim (KOR) 21-12, 19-21, 21-19
BS: Sun Feixiang (CHN)  beat Lee Chia Hao (TPE)  21-13, 21-15
GS: Chen Yufei (CHN)  beat Gregoria Mariska (INA)  25-23, 21-14
GD: Du Yue / Xu Ya (CHN)  beat Ni Bowen / Zhou Chaomin (CHN) 21-15, 21-16
BD: Han Chengkai / Zhou Haodong (CHN)  beat He Jiting / Tan Qiang (CHN)  21-12, 21-17