China’s World No.1 mixed doubles pair were given a scare in the first round of the badminton world championships after dropping the first game in an intense clash. Top-ranked Ma Jin and Xu Chen lost their opening game in Guangzhou 18-21 to unseeded Danish pair Mads Pieler Kolding and Kamilla Rytter Juhl,who found answers to their trademark nimble play and dynamite smashes.
Xu sent back scorching returns of up to 277 kilometres per hour (172 miles),leaping in the air for his overhead shots,but the Danes held their nerve and withstood the onslaught. The home crowd fell into a nervous quiet as the Danish pair went up 10-6 in the second,but the Chinese duo pulled it back to take the game 21-17.
A frenetic third game saw Xu nailing acrobatic shots,including one behind his back,as the crowd roared him on. The Chinese No.1s eventually took victory in just under an hour,pumping their fists and shouting as they won the third game 21-13. Reigning world champions Zhang Nan and Zhao Yunlei,also from China and ranked second,will step into the spotlight later on Tuesday when they play Anthony Dumartheray and Sabrina Jaquet of Switzerland.
The Chinese pair are favourites with fans after revealing they were a couple by hugging and kissing following their victory in the Japan Super Series in 2010. Mixed doubles third seeds Tontowi Ahmad and Liliyana Natsir of Indonesia beat Malaysia’s Jian Guo Ong and Yin Loo Lim 21-14,21-11 in their first-round match on Tuesday.
The Indonesians are serious challengers for the title after winning three of the four Super Series they have taken part in this year. Fourth seeds Joachim Fischer Nielsen and Christinna Pedersen from Denmark went through,trouncing Ukraine’s Valeriy Atrashchenkov and Anna Kobceva 21-4,21-6.
But fifth-ranked Chan Peng Soon and Goh Liu Ying of Malaysia went out to Koreans Kim Ki-Jung and Jung Kyung-Eun,losing 18-21,19-21.
Thai shuttlers banned
The Badminton World Federation (BWF) banned Thai shuttler Bodin Issara for two years on Tuesday for his attack on former doubles partner Maneepong Jongjit during the final of the Canada Open last month. Maneepong was himself suspended for three months by the BWF disciplinary committee which upheld the punishments that the Badminton Association of Thailand had announced for the pair last month.
“Both sanctions are effective from the date of the incident Sunday,21 July and the players have 21 days in which to appeal,” the BWF said in a statement.
The duo,both 22,were competing on opposite sides for the first time since they split up and tensions blew up in a bad-tempered men’s doubles contest culminating in Bodin’s disqualification after he chased Maneepong around the arena and hit him.
Bodin lost his temper after being hit on the head with a racquet at the change of ends and he rugby-tackled Maneepong on a neighbouring court and rained downed punches before being pulled away. Bodin subsequently apologised and even urged the authorities to reduce Maneepong’s suspension so that he could play in the ongoing World Championships in China.
Bodin,who was found to have breached five sections of the code of conduct,would forfeit world-ranking points and prize money earned from the event,the BWF statement said.