China’s badminton team learned a lesson from its matches against Chinese Taipei Wednesday evening in the mixed team final of the Chengdu FISU World University Games.
Unlike both teams’ prior duels this week, all rather lopsided wins, the final was closely contested and went the distance before ending in a Chinese Taipei victory in the women’s doubles.
It was the first gold medal handed out after four days of badminton action in Chengdu.
China dominated the first contest of the team event showdown, mixed doubles, the renowned pair of He Jiting and Du Yue winning 21-11 and 21-12. After the match, Du sent her racket in the crowd as a symbol of appreciation.
“I think the fans on the field gave us a lot of support and I’m very grateful to them,” said Du, a bronze medallist from the 2019 world championships in women’s doubles.
“The first point was crucial for both sides, so we wanted to do well. The spectators were very enthusiastic, which made us very excited,” added He, who captured silver in men’s doubles at the 2021 worlds.
The momentum then changed when Lin Chun Yi from Chinese Taipei, ranked 24th in the world, defeated Wang Zhengxing 22-20, 21-17 in the men’s single. Despite winning the round, Lin wasn’t entirely pleased with his performance.
“I don’t think I got off to a good start. The opponent’s attacking ability was also good, and I slowly found some rhythm back,” said the 23-year-old Lin. “However, I think it’s hard to tell the difference. But I adjusted.”
Han Yue reclaimed the lead for China when she crushed Hsu Wen Chi by 15 points in the second set of their women’s singles match, after taking the first 21-17. Although the win might have looked easy, the victor claimed she wasn’t as calm as spectators might have thought.
“I’m just calm on the surface, but I’m flustered inside. I managed to adjust myself well and calm down later.”
During the men’s doubles, fans were on the edge of their seats as Lee Fang Chih and Ye Hong Wei squared things up again for Chinese Taipei. They prevailed in three sets, 21-16, 18-21 and 21-14.
This is Lee and Ye’s first partnership in an international competition despite knowing each other for a long time.
“We have been making adjustments on the [court] since high school, so we know each other to a certain extent,” said Ye regarding their chemistry.
The gold medal would then be decided by women’s doubles. All eyes were on the four players standing on court 1 at the Shiangliu Sports Centre Gymnasium.
Every smash was greeted with a strong reaction, every move was observed, and every single mistake was noticed.
After taking the first set rather easily, 21-12, Lee Chia-Hsin and Teng Chun Hsun completed Chinese Taipei’s comeback by edging Li Wen Mei and Liu Xuan Xuan 27-25 in the second. The second set had everyone engaged as it got to set and match points until 27-25 was the final score that ultimately gave Chinese Taipei the gold.
“I was quite nervous at the beginning but feeling that my opponents were even more nervous than me,” commented the offensive-minded Teng, ranked 20th in the world in the discipline. ”I’ve got a lot of momentum, and it’s pretty good.”
Malaysia and Thailand merited mixed team bronze medals.
Written by Noor Saleha Salem, FISU Young Reporter