The Chinese and Japanese contingents dominated the final schedule of the 2019 Badminton Asia Championships at Wuhan Sports Center, Wuhan, China, today But how did the various matches go down and who can call themselves champions?
Momota overcomes Shi Yuqi in thriller
Japan’s world number one Kento Momota roared back from a game down to defeat Shi Yuqi of China and retain his Badminton Asia Championships title earlier today. In a repeat match of last year’s World Championships final, second-ranked Shi powered into a 6-0 lead in the first game. Momota — who beat Shi to win the world title — briefly drew level, before the 23-year-old Chinese took the opening game 21-12.
The 24-year-old Momota appeared to lack his explosive best and was behind early in the second game too, before forcing level at 11-11. The Japanese top seed then belatedly found his rhythm and sealed the second game 21-18 with a delicious smash.
The momentum was all with Momota now and he clinched the title in 69 minutes by easily winning the third game 21-8 against a badly deflated Shi.
“A new generation of players is taking over and I am pleased to be part of it,” said Momota, who will be favorite for gold at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
History in the women’s singles
There was more joy for Japan at the home of their arch-rivals as Yamaguchi, a silver medallist two years ago, romped to victory against fifth-seeded He 21-19, 21-9. The 21-year-old Yamaguchi, the third seed, raced out of the blocks in both games against her stunned opponent from China, who is a year older.
Yamaguchi went 12-2 up in the first game and was ahead 11-1 in the second on the way to the title in just 42 one-sided minutes.
“Becoming the first Asian women’s singles champion from Japan is not that important to me,” said Yamaguchi with a hint of mischief.
“Instead, I was proud to be on the top of the podium surrounded by three Chinese opponents,” she added, referring to He and bronze medallists Chen Yufei and Cai Yanyan.
Tension in the women’s doubles
Chinese women’s double Chen Qingchen / Jia Yifan made the Wuhan Sports Center in Wuhan excited earlier today. The host duet defeated Japanese double Mayu Matsumoto / Wakana Nagahara in the final match of the 2019 Badminton Asia Championships.
The world number four must have a super-tough match, tense and end with a dramatic 19-21, 21-14, 21-19 in 69 minutes (BWF statistics). Chen / Jia, who was left behind in the first game, rose phenomenally in the second game. They were left behind 6-10! Then he scored 12 straight points to lead 18-10.
Ultimately Chen / Jia became the Asian champion. They broke the tradition of Japanese women’s doubles that have always won BAC since 2016 (Misaki Matsutomo / Ayaka Takahashi 2016 and 2017 and Yuki Fukushima / Sayaka Hirota in 2018).
The match was full of adrenaline, some excellent badminton and controversy. Chen Qingchen’s was called for service error a total of five times, including a crucial juncture when the scoreline in the decider read 18-18. The Chinese pair protested the decision and even called on the tournament director along with their coach and against the tournament rules but to no avail.
China reigned supreme at their home ground as both the mixed doubles and women’s doubles title went to the home nation. Mixed doubles was an all-Chinese affair where Wang Yilyu and Huang Dongping beat He Jiting and Du Yue 21-11, 13-21, 23-21 in an hour.
Get a total overview of the winners of 2019 here