Another year and another World Championships is over, new World Champions have been crowned whilst some continue their domination of the sport. It was a tournament full of surprises, from England’s withdrawal on the eve of the Championships to seeing Lin Dan seeded a mere fifth.
He might have been seeded fifth, but Lin Dan is still the best player in the world. He almost eased into the tournament with three simple wins in under 90 minutes, and then hit top form when it mattered against Peter Gade, Sony Dwi Kuncoro and Chen Jin to win his third straight World Championship.
Lu Lan came in as China’s 4th best player, but now she is World Champion. Beating four of the top ten seeds on her way to the world title without losing a set is a remarkable achievement for the 22-year old. She defeated Xie Xingfang and Wang Lin on her way to the world title to declare herself as the number one player in China and in the world.
Cai Yun and Fu Haifeng’s lack of tournament experience this year did little to hinder their progress at this years world championship, but had to come through the most remarkable match of the Championships in the final against Lee and Jung where they had a to save two Championship points at before taking the title at their sixth match point, winning 28-26 in the third game in a 75 minute epic.
Zhao and Zhang came in as China 4th best women’s doubles partnership but they showed the depth and quality of the nation by defeating two higher Chinese seeds on their way to their first World title. Their stunning win over Ha and Kim in the quarterfinal will live long in the memory.
The only non-Chinese winner and a first gold for Denmark since 2003 as Laybourn and Rytter Juhl take the mixed doubles title, beating the top three seeds on their way to the title. It is an event that the Chinese haven’t won since 2001 and a result that will boost the game as a whole in Europe that the Asian stranglehold can be broken.
Howard Bach and Tony Gunawan rolled back the years at this years World Championship, unseeded and unfancied at the start of the week they went on a run that turned them from no-hopers to contenders for the title. Only a narrow defeat in the quarterfinal robbed them of another run at the world title.
Jan O Jorgensen’s run to the quarterfinals could be the first look into the future of Danish badminton and to continue the legacy of outstanding men’s singles players. The 21-year old gave Taufik Hidayat a real scare in the last 8 before narrowly losing out, but don’t count out another run by Jorgensen next year.
Paaske and Rasmussen’s shock round 2 defeat was one of the big disappointments of the opening three days of action. Their half of the draw opened up with the withdrawal of Kido and Setiawan but the 2005 World Championships fell at the first hurdle.
There was a lot of harsh criticism of Lee Chong Wei’s defeat to Sony Dwi Kuncoro in the quarterfinal stage on the live-blog that was onsite during the World Championships, but that is not my reason for putting him down as a disappointment. I think he was the only genuine contender to Lin Dan this year and we were almost robbed on their potential semi-final encounter, a victory over Lee Chong Wei would have made Lin Dan’s three-peat all the more impressive.
What next for the world’s best? Macau next week.