Kuala Lumpur: As Chen Long is taking a long break after winning gold at the Rio Olympics, and the 2008, 2012 Olympic champion Lin Dan prefers to only compete in tournaments held within China in order to stay closer with his wife during her pregnancy, China is showing no signs of slowing down in conquering the world of badminton.
The four Superseries tournaments held after Rio Olympics have seen many grand individual performances, featuring legendary old-timer such as World No. 1 men’s singles player Lee Chong Wei, joined by young talents from China including Chen Qingchen in women’s and mixed doubles, Zheng Siwei in mixed doubles, He Bingjiao in women’s singles, Shi Yuqi and Qiao Bin in men’s singles.
Undoubtedly World No. 1 men’s singles player Lee Chong Wei is in a class by himself. He won the Japan Open but has battled injuries after his quarter-final loss at the 2016 Denmark Open.
Among all young talents mentioned above, most exciting young players to watch are Chen Qingchen and Zheng Siwei in mixed doubles. Both Chen and Zheng had made it to the final of all four post Olympic Superseries tournaments, and winning two of them, the Japan Open and the French Open. In addition, Chen Qingchen also partnered Jia Yifan to claim the French Open title that concluded last Sunday.
Meanwhile, He Bingjiao has succeeded well in filling the women’s singles vacuum by winning the Japan and the French Open. This is especially critical for China after the retirement of two former World No.1 women’s singles player Wang Yihan, Wang Shixian while 2012 Olympic champion Li Xuerui is still healing from her knee injury.
In the men’s singles category, two young breakout Chinese stars have captured the world’s attention recently. Current World No. 22 Qiao Bin who seemingly came out of nowhere to make a name for himself by winning the Korea Open, accompanied by his junior the 20-year-old Shi Yuqi who stood tall on the French Open podium when he defeated 36-year-old Lee Hyun-il of Korea in the French Open men’s singles final last Sunday.
The post-Olympic results have shown that China has plenty of talent among all five badminton categories, and it’s clear that China has started to nurture and to prepare these badminton talents for future Olympic success.