Jor­gensen says China still the team to beat

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

Den­mark’s Jan O Jor­gensen be­lieves China still rules the badminton world even though they were routed at the China Open last week­end, but warned yes­ter­day that the West is catch­ing up.

Jor­gensen led Sun­day’s drub­bing of the Chi­nese in Fuzhou when he shocked the world and Olympic cham­pion Chen Long in straight games to win the men’s sin­gles ti­tle. China have ruled badminton for a decade but the golden age may be end­ing. They left the China Open with­out a tro­phy for the first time in the tour­na­ment’s 30-year his­tory.

Jor­gensen how­ever re­mained cau­tious fol­low­ing one of the big­gest wins of his ca­reer, say­ing China was far from a spent force. “The West­ern world is catch­ing up a bit, but still (China) have so many good play­ers,” he told AFP at the Hong Kong Open, after win­ning his first-round match in straight games. “They’re still so strong and the favourites go­ing into every tour­na­ment.” With the great Lin Dan in the twi­light of his ca­reer and other top per­form­ers fac­ing grow­ing com­pe­ti­tion from for­eign play­ers, China are now look­ing for a new generation of world-beat­ers to emerge. Fol­low­ing the rout China’s top badminton prospects called for pa­tience and vowed to re­assert the coun­try’s dom­i­nance. “Some play­ers are get­ting older and then there are the up-and-com­ing play­ers. We need time and ex­pe­ri­ence,” said women’s dou­bles player Li Yin­hui. “But that doesn’t mean things are shift­ing away or that we can­not main­tain the dom­i­nant po­si­tion.”

The 19-year-old was among China’s run­ners-up in Fuzhou on Sun­day when she lost in both the women’s and the mixed dou­bles fi­nals.

Her women’s dou­bles part­ner, Huang Dong­ping, 21, was con­fi­dent China would re­assert its grip and brushed off sug­ges­tions the pres­sure was in­creas­ing.

“No, I don’t feel any pres­sure. We just fo­cus on every match,” said Huang, after the pair beat Tai­wan’s Chi­ang Kai-Hsin and Hung Shih-Han in the first round in Hong Kong. “We don’t fo­cus on too many other things.”

The China Open de­ba­cle was the latest dis­ap­point­ment in what has been a dif­fi­cult year for Chi­nese badminton. —AFP

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