Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Bao Chunlai: I Want Beijing Olympic Gold Medal of Badminton

I have written a few articles about Bao Chunlai. To the fans’ doubt about him, he clearly indicated that he was confident to scoop the title of 2008 Olympic Badminton Games and did not have any fear of finals.

I am not fearful of finals

In the recent international badminton tournaments, Bao has entered the finals for more than 10 times. But he was changed to another person once competing in the finals especially in the battle against his compatriot Lin Dan. He had so many lose to the latter. What’s the reason?

In Bao’s opinion, the root cause of his failures was his formulary of thought formed in years of matches.

“I was given the mission to keep foreigner badminton players out of finals to insure the title belonged to China before. In general, the missions were accomplished with my great effort. With the time going by, formulary was formed in my mind that a spot of final was my success. So I could not find myself in the competition for champions.

The coaches in Chinese badminton team including head coach Li Yonbo had the opinion that Bao did not have any problem in terms of badminton techniques. He was skilled enough to beat any other one in the world. Lin Dan and he were called binary star of Chinese team.

The performance stability was Bao’s advantage and disadvantage as well. It meant less error on the court and less threat on the other side. It was not fair that some people owed his down to the lack of experience and frailty. As long as he has more confidence and more power to win the key points, Bao will have more titles.

The insider of badminton has even said as follows.

“If Bao had did 75 percent work as in the semi-fianl in final, the title would have been his.”

I have a strong desire for Olympic title.

Bao is one of the players who have the power to be champion in OG, but not the favorite. To reply to the discussion of media and fans, Bao said that the key factor for his breakthrough lies in himself.

“I lost many games, but I do not lose my heart. I will be back to square one. And I hope to prove me with outstanding behavior in Beijing Olympic Games.”

Not a long time ago, Bao said to his coach Li Yongbo that he was confident to compete with other top players for the Olympic champion.

“The more confident you are, the more confidence the people around you have in you. So long as I do good job on the court, who can tell me that I have no chance to win?”

His compatriot Lin Dan has been edging him for a long time. But Bao does not consider him inferior to the world champion.

“Lin Dan is my close friend. I was beaten by him again and again. But it did not mean that he was more excellent than me. I have more potential. I have the full confidence to let the title come to China together with Lin Dan in Beijing.”

In Frecnch Open, Bao ended the miserable cycle of failing facing Lin Dan by beating the latter in 3 games. Bao thought he should make progress in both speed and strength.

“I am taller than other opponents that I control more place on the court easily. But my explosive power is not enough. I failed to win the key points due to stamina, which made an impression to badminton fans that I did not have iron willpower in the clash. In fact, there are little advantage to each other between Lin Dan and me. The winner is the one who persist to the last second.”

Olympic torch bearer is my dream.

On Nov 15th, Li Yongbo, Cai Yun, Fu Haifeng, Zhang Ning, Xie Xingfang, Gao Ling and he were nominated to be the torch bearer. It brought Bao great honor to be the flagman of Chinese delegation in Asian Games.

“I am eager to be the Olympic torch bearer. What a wonderful thing for me!”

Bao believed that it did not influence his preparation for Olympic Games to apply for the torch bearer.

“I am good at running, so I am quite qualified for it.”

But each torch bearer only needs to run a few hundred meters. Someone intends to run very slowly to prolong the memorable time.

Knowing this, Bao made fun to us: “I would run at the opposite direction that I never reach the destination.”

Monday, November 19, 2007

Taufik Quit China Badminton Open

The organizing committee of China Badminton Open declared to the public that Taufik quit the tournament.

The Indonesian badminton team arrived in Guangzhou last night without the most famous player Taufik. News came from Indonesia that Taufik claimed not to go to China before getting into a plane. After knowing that, many reporters asked the vice chief referee Lei Mingji to prove it.

“He informed us with an email. He told us he would not attend Guangzhou tournament without his cause.” Lei Mingji said to the reporters. Taufik will be fined 250 US$ for his quit.

It is the second time that Taufik did this. Early in 2005, the hottest battle between Lin Dan and him did not show up due to his absence. Also, the quit this time affected the box ticket. According to the draw, the opponent of Taufik in the first round will be Bao Chunlai. The badminton fans were eager to watch it, but they failed.

Bao told the media it was a pity for that all his recent training was aimed to beat the Indonesian. To the question whether his power scared Taufik, Bao replied as follows.

“I do not have such power to scare him to quit China Badminton Open. It is another case if he admits it himself. But I am working hard to prepare the clash. It is a great pity that I do not have the chance to beat him in China.”

Bao’s opponent was changed to an unknown Thailand one.

Let’s think about why Taufik quit.

Injury is sure to be an excuse. He has just beat Sony to get the title of national championship. It showed that he was in good shape. He was satisfied with his form that he would take part in Hong Kong Open.

In fact, Taufik’s quit related the following 2 points.

1. Indonesian revenge on China

As we all knew, Lin Dan quit Indonesia Open in May this year. He did it on the day before the opening of the match that the committee had no time to redraw. Indonesians were dissatisfied with it. Christian Hadinata, the head coach of Indonesian badminton team gave his opinion as the following.

“There is a tradition of equality in badminton matches. Since China did not send the most outstanding player to attend Indonesia Super Series, it is not necessary for us to let our excellent player to compete in the tournament held in China. Although we need more credits for Olympic qualification by Super Series, we make our choice with the consideration of all factors besides it.”

Observer considered his remarks a sign that Taufik would quit China Master in Chendu.

But it did no happen. It became a reality in the Guangzhou event.

2. According to the draws, Taufik had much difficulty to get a spot in final.

There are three top Chinese shuttlers Bao Chunlai, Chun Yu and Lin Dan waiting for him. One of the three has the strength to edge Taufik. Maybe it is wise for him to give up. Thus he will have more time to prepare for Hong Kong Open.

But I have to say Taufik will encounter Chinese badminton players sooner or later. In the first round of HongKong Open he will take on Chen Hong, a hard opponent to conquer.

In fact, Taufik is surrounded by Chinese group no matter what kind of tournament he attends.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Predictions of China Badminton Open

Men’s Singles

The most attractive match of the first round will be the clash between Bao Chunlai and Taufik. The latter hates to meet Bao on the court for they are the natural enemies due to the types of badminton techniques. Taufik does not fear Lin Dan, but he has some to Bao with 5 failures and 3 victories. He was beaten in Denmark Open. So I think Bao has more percentage to win again.

As I wrote before, Bao was always the second. In the semi-final of last China Open, He outplayed Lin Dan for the first time. All his fans were eager for him to win the title. But he lost to Chen Hong which disappointed them. It’s a copy of last year that he was the 2 runner-ups of Denmark Open and French Open. Could he move forward to prove that he was a man, not a boy?

The other games of the first day will also be wonderful which include Chen Yu against Chen Hong, Lin Dan against Park Sung Hwan, Peter Gade against Simon and Lee Chong Wei against Ponsana Boonsak. With thanks to the revolution of drawing straws for the tournaments with credits by BWF, we are offered so many splendid matches that are no less than semi-finals or finals of international events.

Women’s Singles

As the hometown player and world No.1, Xie Xingfang is the favorite to scoop the title. She has a very good luck that she will not encounter hard opponents till quarter-finals. Her compatriot Lu Lan and Hong Kong’s Wang Chen are in the same part as her.

Meanwhile, Zhang Ning will have more difficulties to fight her way out for there are so many top players in the second half including Jiang Yanjiao, Wang Lin, the world champion Zhu Lin, Hong Kong’s Zhou Mi and a so-called overseas group consisted of German Xu Huaiwen, Dutch Yao Jie and French Pi Hongyan.

She has not been champion for 6 months with bad form. In my opinion, it’s very hard for her to win the continuous title of this tournament.

Men’s Doubles

With the sweep against Malaysian pair of Choong Tan Fook and Lee Wan Wah, Cai Yun and Fu Haifeng changed the score to 1:2. They are expected to revenge the Malaysian to have a tie. In the fourth quarter, the French Open champions have the most possibility to take on Korean pair of Lee Jae Jin and Hwang Ji Man. The Chinese pair will step forward regarding the strength gap of both sides.

If they successfully enter the last 4, they are possible to meet world champion Kido Markis and Setiawan Hendra or Denmark pair of Eriksen Jens and Lundgaard Hansen Martin. The former beat them in the final of last China Open in straight games. The latter edged them in the semi-final of Denmark Open in three games. The Chinese pairs are filled with desire to have a win over either of them.

Women’s Doubles

China has the dominance of this event. But there are so many factors to affect it especially the change of players in national badminton team. Huang Sui left, Athens champions Yang Wei and Zhang Jiewen separated (reunion now), Du Jing and Yu Yang injured. The gold pair Gao Ling and Huang Sui was replaced by Gao Ling/Zhao Tingting to attend China Badminton Open.

According to the draw, the top seed Zhang Yawen and Wei Yili and her compatriot Du Jing/Yu Yang are in the first half. The 5th seed Gao Ling and Zhao Tingting will have a battle with Yang Wei and Zhang Jiewen.

World No.4, the 3rd seeds Lee Kyung Won/Lee Hyo Jung are likely to compete with Zhang Yawen/Wei Yili for a spot of final. The Korean pair beat the Chinese in the Macau Open.
I have to talk about Yang Wei and Zhang Jiewen. After reunion, they scooped the title of World Championship. They cherish the chances given by the coach team and hope to have a 4 uninterrupted champion.

Mixed Doubles

Top seed Zheng Bo/Gao Ling and world NO.4 Xie Zhongbo/Zhang Yawen are expected to have achievements. The English pair Donna Kellogg/Anthony Clark and Gail Emms/Nathan Robertson, the Denish pair Kamilla Rytter Juhl/Thomas Laybourn are the most competitive opponents for the Chinese pairs.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

China Badminton Open Is Coming

The China Badminton Open will be held in Guangzhou, China next week. All the top players are going there for more credits of Olympic qualification. According to the draws given, many wonderful matches will be presented to the badminton fans.

For Chinese badminton players, it is a very good opportunity to adopt themselves to the home field as Beijing Olympic Games will be coming next year. For the players from other countries, it’s also a good chance to feel China.

I could not write an article better than CHINA OPEN Mouth-watering Starters.

Who do you think will be the titles of China Badminton Open? Here I give statistics about the champions of China Open in recent years as your reference.

1. Men’s Singles

Year Gold Silver
2001 Xia Xuanze Wong Choong Hann
2002 Wong Choong Hann Chen Hong
2003 Lin Dan Wong Choong Hann
2004 Lin Dan Bao Chunlai
2005 Chen Hong Bao Chunlai
2006 Chen Hong Bao Chunlai

2. Women’s Singles

Year Gold Silver
2001 Zhou Mi Gong Ruina
2002 Gong Ruina Zhang Ning
2003 Zhou Mi Gong Ruina
2004 Xie Xingfang Wang Chen
2005 Zhang Ning Xie Xingfang
2006 Zhang Ning Yao Jie

3. Men’s Doubles

Year Gold Silver
2001 Zhang Wei/Zhang Jun Liu Yong/Chen Qiqiu
2002 Feerawiwatana Pramote/Panviavas Tesna(Tailand) Chen Choon Eng/Chan Chong Ming
2003 Paaske/Rasmussen Choong Tan Fook/Lee Wan Wah
2004 Wijaya Candra/S. Budiarto Chen Choon Eng/Choog Tan Fook
2005 Wijaya Candra/S. Budiarto Eriksen Jens/Lundgaard Hansen Martin
2006 Markis Kido/Hendra Setiawan Cai Yun/Fu Haifeng

4. Women’s Doubles

Year Gold Silver
2001 Zhang Jiewen/Wei Yili Huang Nanyan/Yang Wei
2002 Gao Ling/Huang Sui Wei Yili/Zhao Tingting
2003 Gao Ling/Huang Sui Yang Wei/Zhang Jiewen
2004 Yang Wei/Zhang Jiewen Wei Yili/Zhao Tingting
2005 Yang Wei/Zhang Jiewen Gao Ling/Huang Sui
2006 Yang Wei/Zhang Jiewen Wei Yili/Zhang Yawen

5. Mixed Doubles

Year Gold Silver
2001 Liu Yong/Ge Fei R.Olsen/Sogaard
2002 Zhang Jun/Gao Ling Chen Qiqiu/Zhao Tingting
2003 Zhang Jun/Gao Ling Chen Qiqiu/Zhao Tingting
2004 Jens Eriksen/Schjoldager Mette Chen Qiqiu/Zhao Tingting
2005 Robertson Nathan/Emms Gail Lee Jae Jin/Lee Hyo Jung
2006 Xie Zhongbo/Zhang Yawen Xu Chen/Zhao Tingting

My prediction is as follows:

MS champion: Lee Chong Wei (he is in such a good shape this year)
WS champion: Xie Xingfang (Guangzhou is her hometown. Ha ha)
Men’s Double champion: Koo Kien Keat/Tan Boon Heong
WD champion: Zhang Yawen/Wei Yili
Mixed Double champion: Zheng Bo/Gao Ling

What’s your conclusion? With your analysis and emotions you could have a totally different answer from me.

Comment on the chatter box.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Taufik and Lin Dan: Respect Each Other, Lack Communication Due to Different Languages

Taufik in Lin Dan’s eyes

The first fight between Lin Dan and Taufik was in 2001 Asian Championship with the former win. From then on, they had a lot of battles with victories and failures. The competition between them was the focus of attention for the badminton fans and media.

There were 2 idols for Lin Dan when he began his badminton career. One was Sun Jun for Sun was the No.1 MS player in national badminton team at that time. The other was Peter Gade for the Danish was outstanding in terms of badminton techniques.

But Lin also respected Taufik for the latter had almost scooped the titles of all kinds of tournaments including Olympic Games, World Championship, and Asian Games.

"My scores are not as good as Taufik. I am still on the way to my dream." Lin Dan said.

Taufik has a great many fans all over the world. I can prove it. Many Chinese badminton fans love Taufik much more than Lin Dan. Chinese little flower Wang Lin, the champion of Ladies Single in 2006 China Master, hoped to do well enough to let Taufik know her. Lin Dan believed that Taufik was the typical player of Indonesian with wonderful skills, enjoyable to watch.

As for the battle between him and Taufik, Lin Dan said that the character played an important role in it.

"Every player has its own character, its own way to live his life and its own way to fight on the court. There is no need to change it. Or he would lose his own feature. If Taufik turned to be modest and cautious for some people considered him arrogant, I think it’s no good for him. It’s not Taufik any more without his own style." Lin Dan thought.

Being an excellent shuttler, Lin Dan felt that the happiest was not the title, but a competitive opponent behind it.

"If I came to the top place without difficulty, I could not feel a great sense of achievement. Nowadays there are many top players fighting in the badminton tournament, so the champion weighs a lot. I benefited a lot from my opponents for their progress drove me forward. The uncertainty of win made the player maximize his potential."

Lin Dan in Taufik’s eyes

At the age of 8, Taufik was font of football. But his father wanted him to play badminton for Indonesia was a “kingdom of badminton”. To be a world-class badminton player was a dream for most teenagers of Indonesian.

Once he took part in this kind of sports, he loved it.

In Sydney Olympic Games, the world No.1 lost his game to Ji Xinpeng in the quarter-finals.

"I can not believe my failure. I have to wait for the next one. I am the No.1. Why and how can a new Chinese beat me?" Taufik could not accept it. But he began to know lose was a natural thing to a player.

"It’s just a game. Anyone could lose it. I have to relax. So I go to have a party, listen to the music and try to forget the game. But I do not mean to give up for Olympic title is my ultimate goal."

In Athens Olympic Games, Taufik cried again. But this time the tears were for excitement. "I must thank God!" Taufik said after getting the Olympic gold medal.

As for the topic of Lin Dan and him, Taufik said that he had never talked to the former due to different languages.

"There is no problem between us. He is the most outstanding player in the world. But languages are the obstacle of communication for us. I would like to be friendly to any other player in the world including those from Indonesia, China and Denmark. I could make friends with Lee Chong Wei and Peter Gade for we talked to each other in English. I was also eager to make friends with Chinese shuttlers, but we could not communicate. Why aren’t you able to speak English? If you can, we can do something together beyond the court."
Taufik gave Lin Dan a suggestion that watching English movie was a quick way to grasp the language.

Regarding the media’s discussion about them, Taufik was bored about the comparison of them.

"Everyone was asking me about Lin Dan. But Lin Dan is Lin Dan and Taufik is Taufik. I hated some newspaper reported something unreal. They always wrote that Taufik disliked Lin Dan and Lin Dan disliked Taufik. They brought much trouble to us. I don’t want to have any problem with Lin Dan. I hope Chinese media don’t give false report. And I wish Chinese badminton fans give a warm welcome to me."

To the question who was the hardest opponent to him, Taufik gave his answer----Bao Chunlai. In his opinion, Bao Chunlai is the same type as Indonesian player with great techniques and Lin Dan has more strength.

"Bao Chunlai is a very excellent player, but he did not perform steady while Lin Dan did well in this point."

Taufik has a full expectation for Beijing Olympic Games.

"I have been in China for many times. I think Chinese badminton is the world No.1. China is a very large country with a lot of people. They all work hard and I love them. There are so many world No.1 in China. I know US is the top one leading the world. Maybe the next one is China."

Lin Dan and Taufik in Bao Chunlai’s eyes

Lin Dan and Taufik have different types on the court. The media has no need to sensationalize the battle between them.

"We seldom have a talk with Taufik due to different languages. He is very clam, serous and devoted competing with others. And it’s a great pleasure to watch his games. Lin Dan is an aggressive badminton player with his own character. He often makes a standard solute to the audience after victory and shows strong desire for it." Bao Chunlai said.

Bao talked about other opponents as well.

As for Lee Chong Wei, Bao regarded him a good friend worth trusting.

"He is very smart and keeps his word to friends. I asked him to bring me something and he always did it. This kind of little thing showed that he was a nice guy."

As for Peter Gade, Bao Chunlai loved his types of playing badminton very much.

"Peter Gade is from the generation ahead me. I loved to watch his games before I entered national badminton team. Though his ability was not as good as in his top shape, his quick mind with sharp attack impressed me deeply."

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