24/7/2014

Malaysia’s 10 players squad with their coaches Rosman Razak , Chin Eei Hui and Rashid Sidek posing a group picture yesterday before the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games 2014, Glasgow.

The Malaysian team who arrived a week earlier to get use to the time difference in Scotland, are all in high hopes of dominating the whole badminton events even without their superstar and world number 1 player Lee Chong Wei.

Malaysia is the defending champions in the mixed team event, men’s singles, men’s doubles and mixed doubles which they won in the last edition of the games in New Delhi 2010.

For this year squad, most of them are making a debut accept for Chan Peng Soon who will be playing in the men’s doubles and the mixed doubles event.

Chong Wei Feng and Liew Darren has some weight on their shoulders to keep the tradition going. Malaysia has been winning the Men’s singles since 1990.

 

 

World number 1 Lee Chong Wei has been struggling with a hamstring injury since the Thomas Cup in May. The pain became unbearable  during last month’s Japan and Indonesia Open, as there was a muscle tear reported by doctors.  Despite the injury, the 31 years old superstar from Malaysia remained optimistic about his chances of participating in the World Championship in August 25th to 31st.

Injuries is no surprise for Lee Chong Wei as he has proved that his mental strength abilities will get the better of his injuries. As a matter of fact, just a couple of months before the London Olympics during the Thomas Cup tie against Denmark. Chong Wei suffered quite  a serious  twisted ankles injury.

He soldier on with the pain and at one point he couldn’t even walked properly due to massive swelling. It was just a week before departing to London. However, even with great obstacles facing the World number 1; Chong Wei managed to reached the finals of the London Olympic Games.

In this year World Championship in Denmark, Chong Wei stood the best chance of becoming Malaysia’s first official “World Champion” as his arch rival and defending champion Lin Dan did not qualified for this year world meet.

 

It was a happy day for Denmark as they created history by winning the mixed doubles event since 1991 and the first ever men’s singles title at Indonesia Open. Jan O Jorgensen who clinches the men’s singles title has been on form during the past couple of weeks. During the Japan Open 2014 last week, Jan O Jorgensen shocked the world by defeating the living legend Lin Dan at the quarter- final stage 21-19, 13-21, 21-16.

During the semi-finals at the Indonesia Open, Jan O Jorgensen played superbly well against much superior opponent Chen Long of China. He dragged the lanky shuttler all over the court and eventually choked up another surprise win in straight sets 21-1921-18.

Where as in the finals, he met Kenichi Tago who surprised the crowd by demolishing the world number 1 Lee Chong Wei in the semis  21-1615-2121-16  in a hard fought battle.  However  Jan O Jorgensen displayed great focus and determination overcoming  Kenichi Tago 21-18,21-18 in 44 minutes.

With Jan O Jorgensen superb form, it gave Danish supporters timely boost of confidence in their players who will be playing at the World Championship in August hosted by Denmark.

Meanwhile in the mixed doubles, the London Olympics bronze medalist Joachim Fischer Nielsen and Christinna Pederssen who has been struggling with their form through out this year finally made a break by winning 18-2121-1621-14  against third seeds Ma Jin and Xu Chen of China.

 

image source: thestar

Malaysia disposed India in the opening round of the Thomas Cup Finals 2014 at New Delhi, India with a quite convincing score of 4-1.  On paper with Malaysia’s weakest team ever assembled, displayed yesterday that they still have a depth in talented and reliable players in the team other than world number 1 Lee Chong Wei.

Malaysia would actually look bad if they lost to the much improved and host India but remain focused and goal driven to actually handle the home crowd support and romped in the win.

After Lee Chong Wei, took the first point against K. Srikanth 21-19, 21-12 for the first point and scratch pair of 2004 World Junior Champions of Tan Boon Heong-Hoo Thien How took the second point with a 21-14, 21-11 win over Sumeeth Reddy-Manu Attri.

In the 2nd singles, Chong Wei Feng  gave the whole nation a surprise by handling the pressure well to chalked up a win against much reputable opponent P.Kashyap 21-13, 21-6 . P. Kashyap was the London Olympic Games quarter-finalist  and was the favorite to score a point for India, but Chong Wei Feng who was known to have some problems  in dealing with pressure during intense matches, kept his composure and gave Malaysia a 3-0 win over India.

Despite having a 3-0 win, they still the play all 5 matches during the preliminary rounds and 3 matches for the knock out rounds which begin with the quarter-finals.

Malaysia’s fourth point came through by yet another scratch  pair of  Tan Wee Kiong-Goh V Shem  who was looking anxious to sealed the game by dropping the second game, but recovered to score a 21-17, 14-21, 21-14 win over Akshay Dewalkar-Pranaav Jerry Chopra.

A small set-back was from team Captain Liew Daren, who was looking a little nervous and went down fighting R.M.V. Gurusaidutt 21-18, 13-21, 19-21 in the 3rd singles.

Malaysia at the hotel lobby getting ready to go the stadium for their battle against Germany today.

 

 

 

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image source: thestar

Malaysia last won the Thomas Cup in 1992, it has been 22 years since Malaysia tasted glory in the most prestigious men’s team event in badminton. The last team who brought back the cup were legendary players like Foo Kok Keong, Cheah Soon Kit, Soo Beng Kiang and the Sidek brothers; Jalani, Razif, Rashid and Rahman Sidek.

Considered by many badminton fans as the golden boys of Malaysia badminton in that golden era. Now in their late 40′s and early 50′s, they are still famous celebrities in the local arena. Parents of younger generation still talk the tales of these legendary warriors of Malaysia.

The 1992 team, went to Jakarta, Indonesia to defend their title in 1994 but fell short in the finals battling with Indonesia. Malaysia team came close in winning it again in 1998(Hong Kong) and 2002 (Guangzhou) but fell short again to Indonesia in finals.

Image Source: malaysia sport

However in the 2014 edition, on paper Malaysia has the weakest team ever assembled in history of Malaysia badminton. Besides Lee Chong Wei who is the world number 1 and most stable player, the rest of the team are unstable mentally. We see the likes of other countries like Korea, Indonesia, China, Japan to be a major threat or perhaps India.

For instance the Koreans, they are strong mentally and have great depths in their men’s doubles even without their star player Lee Yong Dae. Malaysia’s Liew Darren who has been selected as team captain has been dropping in his form lately and injuries.

Meanwhile, the recent Malaysia Open Super Series 2014 Champion Lim Khim Wah and Goh V Shem are having problems to deal with lower rank pairs and still having problems with their serves.

Just on mental aspects, other countries like Indonesia, China, Korea, Japan are mentally stronger and tougher than players we have now. Malaysia’s second singles Chong Wei Feng always cracked under pressure and he can give away 10 points in row due to unforced errors.

Anyways, Malaysia has just started their 10 days centralized training camp behind closed doors headed by Rashid Sidek. Medias and the public are restricted to get in the training hall. Perhaps the team has something up their sleeves or we could expect the same results in the 2012 edition in Wuhan or even worse.

The strongest nations around the world will begin their battle from 18-25 May 2014 in New Delhi.

 

 

Image source: surabaya news

SUNDAY 13/4/2014

Simon Santoso was written off by critics and badminton fans  that his men’s singles finals match up against crowd favorite and world number 1 Lee Chong Wei at the Singapore Open Super Series 2014 is just a practice session .

Lee Chong Wei, winner of multiple Super Series titles  and seems to be the clear favorite a class winning  9 out of the 10 head to head match up previously.

All was proved wrong by Simon Santoso the 28 years old lad from Indonesia, who quit the national team in January to find better fortune as an independent player and won the Malaysia Open Grand Prix Gold 2014 around 2 weeks ago.

Lee Chong Wei who won the India Open Super Series last week, is struggling  to keep up his form consistent  at the top level to meet the physical demands of playing top badminton at international level.  In fact, he was even thinking about retiring from  the sport at the end of year as age is catching up with the Malaysia warrior.

Simon Santoso who skipped the India Open last week and  took advantage of that and walked in the court with true courage. He showed no signs of nerves and perhaps he was the only one in the packed stadium, who believed in himself of choking up a win against his much more reputable opponent and the current face of badminton  Lee Chong Wei.

image source: yonex.de

Nothing was working for Lee Chong Wei in the first set and it continued to the second set. But the 3 times All England Champion and 2 times Olympic silver medalist displayed a true character of a champion and fight through adversity. Despite showing signs of frustrations and was trailing 4 -11 in the second set, the 31 years old Chong Wei picked up his pace and managed to steal 6 straight points that brought him back into the game.

With the backing of the Singapore crowd cheering his name, Lee Chong Wei displayed great dynamic styles as the world number 1, leaping everywhere for smashes and follow up at the front court. Chong Wei  managed to crawled back up to 10-12 in the second set despite losing the first set.

Simon Santoso stayed focus despite showing glimpse of fatigue, dictating almost every rallies with high quality shots pushing his opponent all four corners and finishes off with superb angle of his thundering smashes. It was absolutely sensational badminton which kept the supporters and badminton fans at the edge of their seats and mouth opening moments.

The more experience Lee Chong Wei tried breaking the rhythm of his younger  Indonesian opponent with Formula One pace and tempos but Simon Santoso always seems to find winning angles with his steep smashes.

The Malaysia Open GP 2014 champion, Simon Santoso persevered through the match and who was looking pale and gasping hard for air towards the end of the match but managed to find odd angles smashes that does winners.

With a string of unforced errors done by Lee Chong Wei, Simon quickly sped up to a 20-10 lead and finally won the match 21-15, 21-10 in 48 minutes.  It was only his 3rd career Super Series title, where as his opponent who had won an impressive 44 Super Series titles.

Simon Santoso is finally back, struggled with  several injuries which made him out of action for the last couple of years. Now he is back and probably the best form he has ever been. He came in the Singapore Open Super Series only as a qualifier but came out of the tournament as a truly deserved champion.

Both men displayed great badminton which projects the great beauty of sports where underdogs can spring up surprises against the favorites. Hopefully this type of badminton will eventually gain more of recognition of sport that it truly deserves.

India Open Super Series 2014

On April 7, 2014, in Badminton News, BWF Super Series, by Andrew Chang

 

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7/4/2014

 

Lee Chong Wei pulled off a surprise 2nd consecutive win against world number 2 Chen Long, yesterday at a packed stadium in New Delhi, India. No one would actually thought that the world number 1 Lee Chong Wei could managed a second  consecutive win over  the younger and more physically superior Chen Long.

The whole stadium was cheering for Chong Wei through out the match, it seems that there was a chance that Chen Long could ruin Chong Wei’s day.

In fact, Chen Long won Lee Chong Wei numerous times last year continuously.  Yesterday the 31 years old Lee Chong Wei played like he was 21 years with great recovery and retrieving abilities. Experience was clearly the main factor  for Chong Wei’s victory last night.

The world number claimed his 3rd title of the year in style, he played patiently and he executed some nice slicing drop shots. He did well like all champions do, taking control of the situation. In fact the night before he had a tough match against second rank China’s men singles player Du Peng Yu in semi-finals. Du is known for his retrieval abilities and great fighting stretch the older Chong Wei to a rubber game.

Chong Wei was having a 8-1 lead in second game but Du Peng Yu stayed focus and managed to crawl back up to forced a rubber. Du Peng Yu was seen to have been showing sign of fatigue towards the end of the rubber set and a executed  string of unforced errors. Lee Chong Wei won 21-17, 19-21, 21-15 in 72 minutes.

However in the finals, against Chen Long; Lee Chong Wei showed no sign of tiredness and scored a big confidence boost win 21-13, 21-17 in 55 minutes.

Hopefully the world number 1 could maintain his superb form at the Singapore Open Super Series, starting in Wednesday. Chong Wei is scheduled to be flying to Singapore on Monday as he needs to test the court on the itself. The qualification rounds will be starting on Tuesday.

 

image source: nurmionegranger

SUNDAY, 30th March 2014

Simon Santoso managed to turn his decision of quitting the national team in January into a blessing of disguise. Simon Santoso played diligently to capture his first title of 2014. Simon Santoso started off well in the opening game against India’s Sourabh Varma but too much unforced errors got into his way.

Simon was leading 11-5 in the first game but the 22 years old Sourabh Varma played patiently and opening up the game with fast pace shooting lobs and fast attacking footwork acceleration which he managed to crawled back up and took the opening game 21-15.

Sourabh Varma is certainly a player to look out for in the near future, despite being much younger than his opponent; Sourabh played like an experienced player with great hunger in his eyes. However, towards the end of the game Sourabh showed a little sign of nerves taking over, which cost him a string of unforced errors and the former Indonesia’s top player took that opportunity to his advantage to clinched a win after a tough battle 15-21, 21-16, 21-19 in 1 hour and 9 minutes.

image source: zimbio

Defending champion Lim Khim Wah and Goh V Shem failed to defend their title , were well beaten by qualifiers Danny Bawa Chrisnanta-Chayut Triyachart of Singapore 17-21, 20-22.

Khim Wah and V Shem struggled to get their game going in the opening game with numerous unforced errors. V Shem and Khim Wah probably started off with a wrong game plan by playing too safe and eagerly trying to kill the rallies.

Danny Bawa Chrisnanta-Chayut Triyachart , the no 281th rank Indonesia and Thailand born players certainly managed to keep momentum going through out the tournament. In fact the beat the 1st seed combination of Hoon Thien How and Tan Wee Kiong in the first round.

image source: badminton foto

 

18/3/2014

 

image source: BWFbadminton

Swiss Open Grand Prix Gold 2014, Former world junior champion Viktor Axelsen clinches his first title of the year after a long battle with China’s Tian Houwei  21-7, 16-21, 25-23 in 1 hour and 8 minutes. Viktor seems to be dominating the first set with great Peter Gade’s fast steep smashes which left Tian Hou Wei clueless and lost during the first set.

However in the second set, Tian Hou Wei did not let his first set defeat into his head and played wholeheartedly with solid defense and amazing retrieval abilities to force a rubber. In the rubber set, Viktor and Tian Hou Wei fought neck to neck with forcing each other for errors and points. Viktor stood up a gear and charged in to wrapped up the game 25-23.

image source: nusamahsuri

In Romania, Misbun Ramdan who is fighting for a spot in the Malaysia’s Thomas Cup team certainly looks good for the spot after capturing the Romian International Challenge title on Sunday. The number 1 seed, had to fight through out the match, as his opponent Adrian Dzioklo of Poland showed some resistance and won the first set but Misbun Ramdan pulled through with great perseverance and superb desire; winning his first title of the year  15-21, 21-18, 21-16 .

 

image source: sapceroh

Despite being 31 years old, Malaysia’s golden boy and world number 1 Lee Chong Wei managed to pull through the tough battles at the Yonex All England Champpiobship 2014, winning the title for the third time yesterday.

Lee Chong Wei’s tough battles begun during his semi-finals match up against young Korean’s next top men’s singles prospect Son Wan Ho.

The world number 11 Son Wan Ho has been slaying giants from the first round, choking up wins against much reputable players like Jan O Jorgensen of Denmark, Hayom Rumbaka of Indonesia, Kenichi Tago of Japan.

Throughout the tournament Son Wan Ho, played tremendously well with great retrieval abilities and fast pace and swift of wrist like smashes.

image source: victor malaysia

The 25 years old Korean lad, has been over shadowed by Korean top players like Park Sung Wan and the legendary Lee Hyun Il. Son Wan Ho managed to push Lee Chong Wei all six corners of the court, which leaves Chong Wei  breathless at some points of the match.

Son Wan Ho was overpowered by the experience Lee Chong Wei towards the end of long tough battle, Lee Chong Wei won 14-21 21-19 21-15 in 1 hours and 11 minutes.

image soruce: xinhuanet

However in the finals Lee Chong Wei meets defending champion Chen Long. Chong Wei has been loosing to China’s replacement of Lin Dan, Chen Long numerous times consecutively.

The 2nd seeded Chen Long, who has been struggling his form from the first round of the tournament and has been playing long tough match throughout the tournament did not show any sign of fatigue during his match up in the finals.

Chong Wei put up a solid  performance and lighting fast pace acceleration, to leave  Chen Long wrong footed at some points of the match. Chen Long did not put down his guard even though he was trailing 5 to 6 points at the early stages of the match but managed to close it up neck to neck with Chong Wei.

Lee Chong Wei was leading 18- 13 in the second set but did not loose focus as he was gasping for air during intervals. At 20-18 Lee Chong Wei played extremely patient and increased his pace towards the front court when opportunity arises.

When the point reached 21 in the second game Lee Chong Wei screamed in delight winning the match 21-13 and 21-19 in 59 minutes.

 

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