Incheon: Men’s doubles pair Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan added to Indonesia’s badminton gold medal haul on Sunday in the nation’s best Asian Games for 16 years.
Their devoted fans almost out sang the home crowd as they roared the duo to victory against South Korean world No. 1s Lee Yong Dae and Yoo Yeon Seong 21-16, 16-21, 21-17.
The Koreans had been favorites to take gold and fought back from a game down. But Indonesia refused to back down in the high-energy encounter, forcing their opponents into errors which finally cost them the match.
“We’re very happy to take gold. We prepared really well for two months because Ahsan got injured and could not play in the world championships, which meant we had more time before the Asian Games,” said Hendra.
In women’s singles, China’s Wang Yihan fought back from a game down to condemn badminton world number one teammate Li Xuerui 11-21, 21-17, 21-7 to another shock defeat in the women’s singles final at the Asian Games on Sunday.
Li, who also lost in the world championships final this month to Spain’s Carolina Marin, consistently put shots long or in the net against a stronger Wang, the world number three. “I made a lot of mistakes in the third game – Wang was playing well and I couldn’t beat her,” said Li.
Wang said Incheon brought her good luck. “I won the world junior championships in Incheon in 2006 and have played here many times, always with good results. Korea is a very lucky place for me.”
Earlier, Indonesia’s Tontowi Ahmad and Liliyana Natsir prevented an all-Chinese final in the mixed doubles after thrashing the world number three pair in two games. Second seeds Ma Jin and Xu Chen were no match for the third seeds and went down 21-12, 21-10 in their semi-final. They struggled to put points on the board in the face of fast and powerful attacking play, with Chinese coach Li Yongbo looking on impassively as they crashed to defeat.
World number one mixed doubles duo Zhang Nan and Zhao Yunlei had an easier ride against unseeded Indonesians Praveen Jordan and Debby Susanto, winning 21-19 21-17 in another semi-final.