China claimed both the men’s and women’s team titles at the on-going 6th East Asian Games (EAG) here on Thursday.
Paced by world No. 2 Chen Long and world No. 3 Du Pengyu, The Chinese men’s team enjoyed an all-win record in their previous three ties under a round-robin format. Their opponents on Thursday, Hong Kong of China, also collected three straight victories, making their encounter the gold-medal decider for the event.
The 24-year-old Chen only needed 28 minutes to take the opening win for China, outclassing world 11th ranked Hu Yun 21-11 and 21-7 in front of a jubilant crowd.
The second match featured Du and the 12th ranked Wong Wing Ki Vincent of Hong Kong, China. Du grabbed the first game at 21-11 and launched a 10-0 run in the second before Wong decided to retire from the match due to an injury to his crotch.
In the third match China fielded the 23-year-old rising star Wang Zhengming, champion of 2013 China Badminton Masters, to play against Ng Ka Long Angus. It appeared to be another easy win for China as the 9th ranked Wang took the first game at 21-11. But Ng refused to throw in the towel, tying 10-10 with Wang in the second game. After leading 11-10 into the interval, Wang left no chance to Eg, wrapping up the game 21-15 to secure the gold for China.
"Before the match I thought Eg would try every means to beat me in order to keep their hope of winning the gold alive. But he might not be in his best form at the beginning of the match so I did not have much trouble in winning the first game," said Wang after the match.
Because of the injury of Wong Wing Ki Vincent, who should have paired up with Wong Wai Hong to play in the fourth match, Team Hong Kong had to give up the doubles match to hand China a 4-0 lead.
China’s highest ranked men’s doubles duo Liu Xiaolong/Qiu Zihan, world No. 6, beat Ng Ka Long Angus/Lee Chun Hei Reginald 21-14, 21-10 in the last match to seal the 5-0 victory for the hosts.
"All the shuttlers in our team are among the best in China, while some teams such as South Korea and Japan have sent their youth teams here. So winning the gold is not a big deal for us. We just have played to our normal level," said Xia Xuanze, coach of the Chinese men’s team and also a former world champion.
"Since the competition schedule is a little bit tight and most of our players were busy playing for their clubs before the EAG, some of them are really tired now. Du and Wang will go on to play in the singles event. They need to fine-tune to their best form and be well prepared for the coming matches," Xia added.
Hong Kong of China took the silver with three wins and one loss while the bronze went to Chinese Taipei who beat Japan 4-1 on Thursday to finish with two triumphs and two losses.
In the women’s team final played early in the afternoon, spearheaded by world No. 7 Wang Shixian, China overwhelmed Chinese Taipei 3-0 to seize the gold.