Ho Chi Minh: Japan won the first inaugural Badminton Asia Mixed Team Championships on Sunday when Kenta Nishimoto carved out a heroic effort to beat Jeon Hyeok Jin in the men’s singles match to complete a stunning 3-0 win over Korea at the Nguyen Du Gymnasium, Ho Chi Minh City.
With vintage performance from their men’s doubles pair Keigo Sonoda/Takeshi Kamura, Japan started the final on a winning note as the Japanese pair cruised past Korean pair Kim Gi Jung/Yoo Yeon Seong 21-15, 21-16 to add the first point for their country.
After winning the first set 22-20, World No. 6 Akane Yamaguchi of Japan started the second set sluggishly. She had to dig deep and clawed her way back from a 2-12 deficit, rallied to beat World No. 3 Sung Ji Hyun 23-21 in a two-set thriller. Japan consolidated its position with 2-0 advantage after Yamaguchi’s victory.
In a crucial win-lose situation, Korean has decided to field World No. 51 men’s singles player Jeon Hyeok Jin instead of World No. 4 Son Wan-Ho, due to Jeon’s 3-0 head-to-head record against Japan’s Kenta Nishimoto.
However, Jeon struggled to play his best badminton when it matters most. On the contrary, Kenta Nishimoto thrived under pressure by defeating Jeon 21-13, 21-16 in 42 minutes to seal the victory for Japan.
Badminton Asia Mixed Team Championships was the first inaugural mixed team badminton event in Asia. A total of 13 teams have participated in the championships including badminton heavyweights China, South Korea, Japan and Malaysia, who were seeded No. 1, No.2, No.3, and No.4 in the tournament.