Chinese badminton boss on Thomas & Uber Cup losses

Wang Zhiyi of China competes in the women’s singles match against Sim Yu-jin (not pictured) of South Korea in the Uber Cup Final at Impact Arena in Bangkok, Thailand, May 14, 2022. / CFP

Wang Zhiyi of China competes in the women’s singles match against Sim Yu-jin (not pictured) of South Korea in the Uber Cup Final at Impact Arena in Bangkok, Thailand, May 14, 2022. / CFP

The Chinese women’s national badminton team lost to South Korea in the Uber Cup Final on Saturday while the men’s team was knocked out in the Thomas Cup quarterfinals earlier this week. This is the first time for China to win no title simultaneously at the two tournaments in 26 years.

Zhang Jun, president of the Chinese Badminton Association, admitted in an interview with Xinhua news agency that the national teams let fans down with their performance.

China and South Korea played five matches for over seven hours in the Uber Cup Final at Impact Arena in Bangkok on Saturday. Zhang praised the efforts of Chen Yufei who came back to beat An Se-ying 17-21, 21-15 and 22-20 in the first women’s singles match.

Chen Yufei of China competes in the women’s singles match against An Se-ying (not pictured) of South Korea in the Uber Cup Final at Impact Arena in Bangkok, Thailand, May 14, 2022. / CFP

Chen Yufei of China competes in the women’s singles match against An Se-ying (not pictured) of South Korea in the Uber Cup Final at Impact Arena in Bangkok, Thailand, May 14, 2022. / CFP

Chen Yufei sprained her ankle in this match but she immediately decided to retape her ankle, stood up and got back into the competition. Zhang said all players should learn such strong willpower and fighting spirit from her.

Zhang said it’s a real pity that Chen Qingchen and Jia Yifan lost to Lee So-hee and Shin Seung-chan 21-12, 18-21 and 18-21 in the first women’s doubles match. “Everything was going their way in the first game,” Zhang said. “But they blew an 8-2 lead in the second game. They need to work on how to adapt to sharp turn from advantage to disadvantage in the competition.”

Zhang admitted the women’s national team aimed for the title from the first place. “We won’t look for excuses. Our players can do better in both singles and doubles matches,” he said.

Liu Yuchen (front) and Ou Xuanyi of China compete in the men’s double match against Mohammad Ahsan (not pictured) and Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo (not pictured) of Indonesia in the Thomas Cup Final at Impact Arena in Bangkok, Thailand, May 12, 2022 ./CFP

Liu Yuchen (front) and Ou Xuanyi of China compete in the men’s double match against Mohammad Ahsan (not pictured) and Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo (not pictured) of Indonesia in the Thomas Cup Final at Impact Arena in Bangkok, Thailand, May 12, 2022 ./CFP

The Chinese men’s team was swept by Indonesia on Thursday. Zhang said the team is going through transition between two generations. After the dominant era of Lin Dan and Chen Long, the team needs young players to grow up fast. “In fact, the youngsters of the men’s team have been working hard for quite a while,” Zhang told Xinhua. “Especially singles players, like Li Shipei and Wen Hongyang, who have participated in several international events.”

Li believes the major reason behind the loss to Indonesia is that the players are not good enough. He also pointed out that it’s important to help players restore their confidence to better prepare for the 2023 Paris Olympics.

“We all know that since 2019, our players have only participated in very few international events overseas, including the Tokyo Olympics, Thomas and Uber Cup and Sudirman Cup, in 2020 and 2021,” Zhang said. “While Lin Dan and Chen Long were aging in the past two years, our young players should have been refining themselves by competing in as many as major events as possible but they couldn’t. Instead, they could rarely play against strong opponents.”

Zhao Junpeng of China competes in the men’s singles match against Anthony Sinisuka Ginting (not pictured) of Indonesia in the Thomas Cup Final at Impact Arena in Bangkok, Thailand, May 12, 2022. / CFP

Zhao Junpeng of China competes in the men’s singles match against Anthony Sinisuka Ginting (not pictured) of Indonesia in the Thomas Cup Final at Impact Arena in Bangkok, Thailand, May 12, 2022. / CFP

As for the women’s team, Zhang revealed that some players are not in their best form after getting COVID-19 when they were competing in Europe. The team will be more careful deciding when they will go overseas to play and when they will return home to train in the future.

Zhang revealed that the men’s team may appoint a new singles coach for players to better improve themselves.

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