Jorgensen says China still the team to beat
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