KUALA LUMPUR: A chubby Li Gen has a lot of similarities with his father, Yongbo, the former Chinese doubles star who is now coach of their national senior team. And one of the traits was his arrogance.
Yesterday, he partnered Lu Kai for the boys’ doubles in China’s 5-0 win over Sri Lanka in a Group A mixed team tie of the Asian junior championships. They beat Nuwan Hettiarachchi-Dilshan Kariyawasam 21-15, 21-10.
Earlier, China also defeated Cambodia 5-0.
As usual, the Chinese team preferred to keep to themselves. A Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) official made three requests for an interview before he was told by the coach that they did not want to be disturbed until the end of the tournament.
The first two requests were put on hold when the coach gave an assurance that his player could be interviewed after the tie was over. Then, he asked for some time for Li Gen to finish eating three slices of pizza.
However, as far as blue-eyed boy Li Gen’s game is concerned, he is not expected to soar to great heights like his father in the doubles.
His movements were sloppy and he certainly need a lot of work on his fitness to be able to keep up with the fast-paced game. Fortunately for Li Gen and his partner, they were only up against Sri Lankan opponents.
And to make matters worse yesterday, the team’s coach requested his boys to train on two empty courts while the other ties were still going on.
Although they were asked not to do so, the players, upon instruction from their coaches, removed the markers on the centre of court and resumed playing. They left only after a stern warning.
Their behaviour left much to be desired but China are still the favourites to retain the title.
In the two ties yesterday, they experimented with their line-up and gave all the team members the chance to play.
Their boys’ singles players, Li Qi and Tian Houwei, are tall, strongly-built and skilful.
The girls’ singles players, Chen Xiaojia and Suo Di, showed that they have very sound foundation of the game.
China look to continue with their domination and it is left to Malaysia, South Korea and Indonesia to rise to the occasion and make them eat humble pie.