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  #231  
Old 12-15-2017
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BEIJING — After their gold-medal-winning performance in Rio, the five male gymnasts proudly held up their nation’s flag, wide grins on their faces.

Yet the flag they lofted was not China’s, as it had been in 2008 and 2012; it belonged to Japan – Beijing’s chief Asian rival. There could be no greater insult to Chinese patriots, adding to a long string for disappointments at this year’s Olympic Games.

Doping charges. A botched Chinese flag. Day after day when China had fewer gold medals than – can you believe it? – Great Britain.
“#TeamChina have suffered the worst Olympic flop,” state-run Xinhua Sports tweeted on Wednesday, after the Chinese male gymnastics team lost to Japan, ending up with a bronze medal.

Recommended: How much do you know about the Olympics? Take the quiz.
A day earlier, Xinhua tweeted a photo of the medals table, with China third in golds, behind Great Britain. “You’re kidding me?” read the tweet, which was later deleted.

It’s hardly surprising Chinese state media would try to whip up patriotic fervor around the Olympics. In recent decades, China’s Communist government has invested large sums in its national sports teams. Like other governments worldwide, it sees the Olympics as an essential tool in building pride in the homeland and projecting strength abroad. This year, that image has taken a beating.

'So what if they can't win gold?'
Yet few ordinary Chinese citizens appear to share their rulers’ disappointment. On SinaWeibo, the main social media forum, many Chinese are expressing pride in Team China’s performance, regardless of its medal count. Some are criticizing the local media for presenting the Olympics as a competition between nations instead of what they are meant to be – a competition between the world’s greatest athletes.

“We cannot imagine the hardships they [the athletes] have suffered to get here,” said one Weibo netizen with the handle of Chitushaonvtui. “So what if they cannot win the gold medals? Should we deny their achievements just because of that?”

Some social media commentators are pushing back against such complacency. “This year, everyone says gold medals are not important, but I do care,” read one Weibo post. “Competitive sports is about fighting to win, how can you not care?”

In an editorial this week, the China Youth Daily argued that the country has outgrown the desire to be defined by Olympic performances. “China has already become a world power and does not need to prove its strength by winning gold medals,” the editorial said.

As of Thursday, Chinese athletes had won 19 gold medals, 15 silvers, and 20 bronzes. That’s an impressive tally, but it means China is nowhere near its performance in 2008, when the Games were held in Beijing and Chinese athletes topped the board with 51 gold medals. It is also likely to end these Games with far fewer than the 38 gold medals China won in London four years ago.

China usually is a powerhouse in badminton, gymnastics, and diving. At Rio, its athletes have struggled in all of those competitions, and more.

Four years ago, Chinese swimmer Sun Yang took gold in the 1,500m and 400m freestyle events. In these Olympics, he failed to qualify in the 1,500m and came second in the 400m, bursting into tears. (He did, however, win gold in the 200m freestyle.)

The 'Beijing bounce' fades...
China sent its largest delegation ever to Rio – 416 athletes – which makes its lack of medal success especially puzzling. Some analysts attribute it to the ups and downs of hosting the Olympics eight years ago.

Host countries tend to pour extra resources into their teams, and that investment sometimes pays dividends at the next Olympics, as it did for China at the London Games. This year, it is Great Britain that is exceeding expectations, but the post-host bounce is fading for China. Or so the thinking goes.

China has suffered some humiliations in Rio that go beyond the medals count. In the first days of the Games, Australian swimmer Mack Horton twice called Mr. Sun a “drug cheat” – including at a post-race press conference, with Sun sitting next to him. (Sun served a three-month ban in 2014 for traces of trimetazidine, which the swimmer said he was taking for heart palpitations.)

China’s netizens then heaped abuse on Mr. Horton, forcing the Australian Olympic Committee to delete thousands of vile comments on his Instagram account.

Chinese state media also noticed that the organizers of the Rio Games were using an incorrect version of the Chinese national flag during ceremonies. Brazilian officials quickly apologized, and replaced the flawed flags with proper ones.

Even with such incidents, the 2016 Games have produced moments of glory for China, and not always because of individual athleticism. Chinese swimmer Fan Yuanhui took home a bronze in the 100m backstroke, swimming a personal best, but she really hit gold with the Chinese public for her post-race interviews, in which she could barely contain her exuberance.

“I didn’t hold anything back!” Fan exclaimed in one interview, which has since gone viral. “I already used all of my mystic powers!”
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  #232  
Old 12-15-2017
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Chinese media have pointed to British spending as the reason behind China’s disappointing finish behind Team GB in the final medals table in Rio, a result which observers say represents an “embarrassment” and a “terrible bitter pill” for Beijing’s sports-obsessed authorities.

State media previously labelled the Games as China’s “worst Olympic flop”, with official agency Xinhua Tweeting: "You're kidding me? The country which has never finished above China is about to."

And after Team GB heroically confirmed they had achieved that feat by finishing in second place, the Beijing News pointed to ‘media reports’ saying the UK invested as much as £387 million in its Olympic efforts.

“Simply speaking, the theory of ‘high investment produces high output’ also applies to the Olympics Games,” said the newspaper, which also blamed China’s fall on its athletes failing in disciplines it traditionally dominates, such as shooting, gymnastics and badminton.

The British team in Rio received about £350 million in support, including a £274 million National Lottery grant. China does not reveal its sports investment but sports stars in the country are rigorously trained from a very young age within the huge apparatus of China’s Soviet-style sports system.

Beijing has also recently been sending its sports stars to countries such as the United States and Australia to receive expensive training from the world’s top coaches.

Team GB’s 27 gold medals edged it ahead of China, who slipped from second place in the overall standings in London 2012 after topping the table in Beijing in 2008.

China’s gold medal tally dropped dramatically from 51 in Beijing – a Games which supposedly announced its emergence as the dominant sporting power of the 21st Century – to 38 in London and 26 in Rio.

Following the initial shock last week that China had been eclipsed by Britain in the medals standing, Chinese media have put a brave face on the country’s slide as a sporting superpower.

“A new China (has) emerged during these Games,” said a report on Monday by state-run news agency Xinhua, entitled ‘Rio Olympics: How China charmed the world’.

“A China that has laid bare its emotions while placing greater emphasis on human spirit, respect and friendship than simply winning titles.”

The report also said that China had won ‘a total of 70 medals’ which “put China second in the overall standings”. Team GB won 67 medals in total.

There was no mention in the report of the official medals table in which China came third.

Observers point to unease in Beijing over the country’s slide from what appeared to be a position of dominance, particularly as the next Olympics will be held by China’s great diplomatic and sporting rival – Japan.

“Team GB’s brilliant performance this time is a terrible bitter pill for the Chinese regime to swallow,” said Xu Guoqi, professor of history at the University of Hong Kong and author of Olympic Dreams: China and Sports, 1895-2008.

“Team GB did well in its own games in 2012 and it has done even better for the Rio Games. Beijing did only great in its 2008 Games but has since declined.

“It is a huge embarrassment for the regime and President Xi Jinping who has clearly linked his ‘China dream’ with the dream of China as a sporting powerhouse,” he told The Telegraph.

Yan Qiang, deputy editor in chief of Titan Sports, China’s biggest weekly newspaper, blamed a reshuffle within China’s sports authorities which resulted in a lack of funding for the national team.

“l think it is a surprise that China was beaten by Britain,” he told The Telegraph.

“It should not happen, and Chinese athletes made mistakes in some sport events which they should not have made.”
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  #233  
Old 12-16-2017
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I guess as a China fan supporter it is indeed sad to say that China have lost its dominance in badminton. It the good olden days man years back whenever there is a Super Series tournament, China will have representatives playing in all the 5 different categories and may even stand a high chance to win. But as of now I am seeing a totally opposite thing happening.
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  #234  
Old 12-16-2017
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Okay I can't believe this when Japanese WD keeps on winning over China WD. That also happen in the semifinals today. It is like China WD is no more invincible and very easy to win. Wow Yuki Fukushima / Sayaka Hirota had an easy win over Huang Yaqiong / Yu Xiaohan today 21-13, 21-14. As I look at the result I cannot even believe that China WD can lose tamely just like that.


This had to be my worst nightmare of the day. An unknown XD player from Hong Kong won over rank no 3 China XD player. I find it so difficult to believe. In the past China XD is just so dominant. But as of now China have lose its dominance in XD and at anytime any players can win over them. Tang Chun Man / Tse Yong Suet really played very well today and win over Wang Yilyu / Huang Dongping today. This is another big upset created today.


Next comes the WS match. Chen Yufei is totally outclassed by Sindhu. She could not do anything to win today. Worse still this will be my worse nightmare as well because for the very first time China WS won no Super Series titles throughout the whole year of 2017. Now this is something very unbelievable to me. This only goes on to proof that how much China players have all declined a lot. So sad to say this too.


Shi Yuqi is also such a but disappointment today as he lose to Viktor Axelsen easily today without being able to put up a tough fight. Shi Yuqi shots is so predictable and he is hardly smashing or attacking to win points. He is just too passive. So it is so shocking for me to see no China MS player in the final of a Super Series events.



Worse part of all the truth reality that hurts is here. Tomorrow in the finals there will only be 2 China players playing in MD and XD. But as the reality goes on to say, the Indonesia MD has been playing so well and is sure to win the MD title in the finals. Furthermore Tang Chun Man / Tse Ying Suet have both won over Zheng Siwei / Chen Qingchen many times before.


So the question now is this. Will it be the very first time that China players failed to win any title in Dubai Super Series finals? I think it is very likely to happen tomorrow with China players going back empty handed with no titles tomorrow. Last year China Open 2016 also China players won no titles and break the history. Tomorrow again history will be broken when China once again return home with no titles in their hand.


This only goes to show and proof that how much China badminton has gone down and in a decline. Too bad indeed.
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  #235  
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China's domination in badminton has suddenly been called into question after its best shuttlers suffered a string of losses during the recent IBF Super Series China Open, leaving many concerned about China's prospects for next year's Beijing Olympic Games. The China Open concluded at Tianhe Gymnasium in Guangzhou on Sunday as the host settled for only two out of the five titles, China's worst showing in 14 years at the tournament.


Xie Xingfang (back) and Zhang Ning of China compete during the IBF Super Series China Open on Saturday in Guangzhou. Xie and Zhang, the world's top two women's singles players, were unable to stop a dark-horse run by Malaysian Wong Mew Choo, who defeated four Chinese players in a row en route to winning the most important title of her career. [Xinhua]
The biggest upset came in the women's singles, which China traditionally dominates in major international competitions.

Wong Mew Choo from Malaysia ruined any planned celebration parties by outgunning world No 1 Xie Xingfang in the final.

The underdog Wong - the world No 8 - was a real giant killer and a nightmare for Chinese women, with wins over China's Zhu Jingjing, world No 5 Pi Hong Yan, (a former Chinese now representing France), world No 3 and reigning world champion Zhu Lin, and world No 2 Zhang Ning on her way to the title.

Veteran shuttler Zhang, a gold medalist at the Athens Olympics, said a loss does not undermine her determination to defend her title in Beijing 2008.

"Nobody likes the feeling of losing matches. The more important thing is how to keep health in your mind after a setback," said Zhang, 32. "If you keep thinking of how to beat the next opponent and the next next opponent, there will be huge pressure on your shoulders. I will try to play every game as the only one and just play my best game."

Years of training and competition have left lingering injures in her knees, but Zhang still has her eyes on the gold medal.

"Reports said I have lower expectations for the Beijing Games. They are wrong. I still have the passion and motivation for the gold medal. I will get fit step by step and fight for the best result in Beijing."

Like Zhang, Xie has struggled with a lingering injury in her lower back for a long time, but she refuses to blame her final failure on the injury.

"It's not an excuse. The injury has been there for a long time and I can handle it as long as it doesn't hurt so much," Xie said. "We have to admit the overall level of women's badminton is progressing fast. Every player has their own style and it's harder to beat them."

Head coach Li Yongbo also admitted the use of the 21-point system has narrowed the gap between Chinese and overseas players.

The China Open was not the first time this year China was humbled at an international event. China also failed to clinch a gold in September's Philippines Open. At the Japan Open later that month, Denmark's Tine Rasmussen demonstrated Europe's growing competitiveness at the cost of Chinese shuttlers, beating national champion Jiang Yanjiao, Zhang, world No 4 Lu Lan and then Xie in the final.

Apart from the women's singles, China also lost titles in men's doubles and mixed doubles at the China Open.

Indonesia emerged as the final doubles victor as Markis Kido/Hendra Setiawan beat Guo Zhendong/Xie Zhongbo to take the men's doubles title, and Nova Vidianto/Lilyana Natsir beat Thai pair Sudket Prapakamol/Saralee Thoungthongkam to win the mixed doubles.

China's gold-medal hopefuls and world No 2 pair Cai Yun/Fu Haifeng failed to live up to expectations again with a surprising first-round exit in Guangzhou.

Coach Li has to take extra measures to get them back on track.

"They still need some time to find their best form. But we still have a while before the Olympic Games and I have confidence," Li said.

China's traditionally powerful mixed doubles team is also slumping after the retirement of two-time Olympic champion Zhang Jun.

Zhang's gold-medal partner Gao Lin has teamed with youngster Zheng Bo, but the new pair is still a ways from the sport's prime time, suffering losses in the world championship final and the China Open quarterfinals.

"Zheng is still not consistent and we are also short of teamwork sometimes," said Gao. "I am concerned if we are able to compete in the Olympics."

World No 3 Bao Chunlai and Gao Ling/Zhao Tingting saved face for China in the men's singles and women's doubles.

Bao thrashed Malaysian Lee Chong Wei 2-0 to claim the singles title. Lee, who beat Bao in the final to claim the French Open championship earlier this month, has risen to world No 2 in the latest IBF rankings.

Bao's performance was welcomed, but fellow world champion Lin Dan's upset at the hands of South Korea's Park Sung-hwan in the first round should sound as a warning to China.

"Lin's shortcoming is his slow starts in big tournaments. He is able to play better game after game, but who knows what will happen in the first round," said coach Li.
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  #236  
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An embarrassing few days for Chinese badminton continued as home players missed out on all five titles in the China Open – the first time in the tournament’s 30-year history.

After Lin Dan’s affair scandal dominated social media in the days leading up to the final, his teammates – sans Lin – embarrassingly failed on home soil in a sport they have traditionally dominated.

And in a blow for Hong Kong fans, Olympic champion Chen Long pulled out of this week’s Hong Kong Open after being shocked in the China Open final.

The state-linked tabloid Global Times said that the Weibo hashtag about Lin’s affair had racked up an astonishing 2.5 billion views by Sunday afternoon after intimate pictures of the two-time Olympic champion, one of China sport’s biggest stars, with a woman were posted on the social media site.

Lin Dan apologises as pictures of badminton star having affair while wife was pregnant blow up Chinese internet

There were 690,000 comments on that topic. Another hashtag “Lin Dan out of control after drinking” was clicked on 1.4 million times after the woman involved made that claim.

Lin Dan and model Zhao Qi
Lin was not in action at the China Open – his wife has just given birth, adding fuel to the scandal – but if he was hoping his teammates might provide some positive headlines to distract attention from the story he was disappointed.

Will Lin Dan's many sponsors abandon the Chinese badminton superstar for cheating on his pregnant wife?

The mixed doubles pair of Zhang Nan and Li Yinhui were outclassed by Rio champions Tontowi Ahamad and Liliyana Natsir from Indonesia in the last final on Sunday, confirming that China’s team – hit by injuries and retirements to long-serving players – would finish without a title.


Chen suffered a shock defeat to Denmark’s Jan O Jorgensen in the men’s final; Sun Yu was beaten by Rio silver medallist Pusarla V Sindhu in the women’s; in the women’s doubles sixth seeds Chang Ye-na and Lee So-hee from South Korea beat home team Huang Dongping and Li Yinhui; in men’s doubles China didn’t even reach the final.

Sun Yu of China competes during the women's singles final against Pusarl Venkata Sindhu of India at the China Open badminton tournament in Fuzhou, capital of southeast China's Fujian Province, Nov. 20. Sindhu claimed the title with 2-1. (Xinhua/Lin Shanchuan)
China’s veteran coach Li Yongbo didn’t show up to a post-tournament press conference, Xinhua reported.

China have won 84 of the 130 titles on offer at the event since it was first held in 1986. China had won 24 of 27 available titles in women’s singles and 25 in women’s doubles.

Does China’s worst Olympic Games medal haul since 2000 point to a change in the country’s attitude towards sport?

Traditionally all-powerful in badminton, the team had its worst Olympics ever in the summer, with only Chen and the men’s doubles team of Zhang and Fu Haifeng winning titles. At London 2012, they swept all five titles.

China’s team – minus Lin and Chen – will be looking to get back on track this week at the Hong Kong Open.
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  #237  
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Badminton superpower China was taken aback by very shocking defeats in the 1st round, that of last week’s China Masters champion Wang Zhengming, who bowed out to Nguyen Tien Minh (Vietnam) 14-21 11-21 14-21 and then followed by a more shocking defeat, that of world#2 Chen Long to a Japanese qualifier Kazuteru Kozai 22-24 21-16. With Du Pengyu’s last minute withdrawal, China finds itself in unfamiliar ground – it leaves China with one last medal prospect in one of its strongest discipline – the men’s singles, with Gao Huan.

Chen Long (photo) could not have anticipated “the” problem standing over at the opponent’s court, after all he was facing a player who has not been in the Japan national team for the past 4-5 years, has a year ago retired from Tonami Badminton Club and is now fully concentrating on coaching Ryukoku University’s badminton club. But to Chen’s surprise, he found himself at the losing end of a tightly contested match. He could not find a solution to break the momentum that Kozai built finally succumbing to a 48-minute battle on-court, and not progressing beyond the 1st round.

“My smashes just kept coming back. I could not break his defense so I changed tactics. I utilized the drift to my advantage while patiently waiting for my chance to kill the rally. I think I did well on the net too. Chinese players are good at cross-court smashes from the back of the court, so I had to be mindful and watch out for that. My feet moved well today so I was also able to reach the shuttle in time. Also, Chen Long is among the world’s top ranked players, I think there was more pressure for him to win. I am not a competitive player anymore, and I have parted ways with that kind of pressure and so I am more relaxed, and thus was able to play my style,” says the elated Kozai (photo), who was very happy that he accomplished this big victory in front of his family who are watching with the crowd.

Wang Zhengming’s cloud 9 lasted for only 3 days as the recently crowned China Master’s champion could not sustain his energy against his Vietnamese opposition, 5th seed Nguyen Tien Minh.

“The China Master’s championship took a lot out of me, physically speaking. I ran out of steam,” explains Wang (photo) of his loss.

“He’s powerful so I was thinking of immediately following up quick net shots after every smash, but unfortunately it did not work well in the 1st set. In the 2nd set, he suddenly got tired and lost speed. That gave me the necessary break. I won over him this time, but if we play again next time, I probably will lose. He’s so much younger compared to me,” explains the ever animated Nguyen Tien Minh of his win.

Amongst the other surprises of the day, Tommy Sigiarto was sent packing by Thailand’s Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk, while Sho Sasaki couldn’t live up to the local expectations against India’s giant killer Srikanth. Gao huang is the last Chinese men standing as he takes on Nguyen Tien Minh on Thursday.
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  #238  
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RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - China’s failure to defend three of its badminton titles at the Rio Games was a shock for a nation used to dominating the Olympic courts but head coach Li Yongbo called for calm amid a storm of criticism.


Four years after winning all five titles at London, China grabbed two gold medals and a bronze to top the medals table, but it was their lowest haul at an Olympics for 20 years.

With teams restricted to two entrants in the singles, down from three at London and previous Games, the badminton superpower had fewer chances to win medals.

However, the lack of a Chinese woman on the podium for both the singles and doubles was a major setback for a team that had built long dynasties in both events.

Li has been the face of Chinese badminton for over a decade and survived a number of controversies by delivering unprecedented results at global and Olympic tournaments.

But the 53-year-old has been lambasted online over the team’s performance in Rio, with Chinese social media users demanding his resignation.

China will lose at least two of its Olympic gold medalists to retirement, with doubles veteran Fu Haifeng and twice singles champion Lin Dan playing their last Games.

Zhao Yunlei, who won mixed doubles gold at London and took bronze in Rio, is also tipped to quit before Tokyo in 2020.

Li said China had little to fear about the passing of the golden generation but conceded there would be more challenges as rival nations closed the gap.

“Sometimes you’re strong, sometimes you fall back,” he told Reuters.

“Indonesia was once strong and Denmark, too. China’s risen up but the champions eventually retire and the next generation comes up slowly.

“So there will be some difficulties. This is normal.

“But China will still have top players competing in future because we have a lot of juniors competing at high levels.

“After these Olympics, our next generation will be strong.

“For a country to maintain its excellence it definitely needs to emphasize systemic talent development and very good training systems. China has, so I am not worried about (the future).”

Indonesia, Spain and Japan won the other titles in a high-quality tournament that spread the medals far and wide.

“Badminton is developing on all sides,” said Li.

“But there is no point judging everyone else’s progress, it’s a matter of concentrating on your own.

“It is fair to say we have more difficulties than before but that does not mean we are going to fall behind. It is just others are progressing, so we still need to work hard.”
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ALOR SETAR: Indonesia have sounded a warning to their rivals that they are bent on winning the Thomas Cup after a lapse of 16 years – with their younger generation of players.

The team powered by Kuala Lumpur SEA Games champion Jonatan Christie stamped their class at the men’s Asia Team Champion*ships by beating China 3-1 in the final at the Sultan Abdul Halim Stadium yesterday.

Indonesia, who last won the Thomas Cup in 2002, will go to the Finals in Bangkok, Thailand from May 20-27, with mostly younger players.

Coming from the brink of defeat in the semi-finals a day earlier in Kedah, Indonesia were in inspired mood yesterday.

In the semi-finals on Saturday, Indonesia had built a 2-0 lead only for South Korea to draw level at 2-2.

The Koreans in fact were one point away from making the final as Lee Dong-keun had six match points against Firman Abdul Kholik.

But the 20-year-old Firman saved all match points before going on to win 22-20, 11-21, 22-20.

The world No. 86’s incredible fighting spirit certainly served as motivation for his teammates in the final yesterday as Jonatan played superbly to upstage world No. 7 Shi Yuqi 16-21, 21-17, 21-18.

“I thought we were going home in the semi-finals as Firman was 14-20 down,” admitted the 20-year-old Jonatan.

“Yuqi is a tough player. We’re both young so it was all about who’s mentally and physically stronger.

“And I’m really proud to have delivered the first point for Indonesia,” said the world No. 13.

With one point in the bag, Indonesia rode on the strength of Mohd Ahsan-Angga Pratama, who put the inexperienced He Jiting-Tan Qiang to the sword with a 21-19, 21-18 win.

China, however pulled a point back when world No. 26 Qiao Bin downed world No. 9 Anthony Ginting 21-12, 11-21, 21-14.

But there was no stopping Indonesia and the pair of Rian Agung Saputro-Hendra Setiawan sealed the win by beating Han Chengkai-Zhou Haodong 21-14, 21-19.
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ALOR STAR, 8 Feb — Second seeds China were stunned 2-3 by Indonesia seeded seventh in the women’s team event at the 2018 Badminton Asia Team Championships held at Sultan Abdul Halim Stadium here, today.

In a group Z match, China’s first singles Chen Yufei lost to Fitriani Fitriani in 21-16, 12-21, 15-21 while doubles pair, Du Yue-Li Yin Hui were outclassed by Greysia Polii-Apriyani Rahayu 18-21, 12-21.

China bounced back through He Bingjiao who beat Gregoria Masriska Tunjung 23-12, 21-10 but it was over for China when doubles Cao Tong Wei-Yu Zheng were tamed by Della Destiara Haris-Rizki Amelia Pradipta in 14-21, 21-19, 21-23. Chen Xiaoxin claimed the second point for China after disposing of Ruselli Hartawan, 21-17, 21-17.
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