Badminton Life

An Asian Invasion of the German Open

In an Olympic Year there is always a great desire for players to be playing against top class opposition on a regular basis in an attempt to maintain their form and this means that tournament organizers and fans benefit greatly from the increased player pool and high levels of determination.

One such tournament that greatly benefited from this situation was the 2008 Yonex German Open which brought an impressive round of players, not only from Europe but from Asia as well. That said some of the European contestants may be wishing they hadn't entered with a large number of them losing out to their Asian counterparts.

This was shown in the Mens Singles event where Hollands Eric Pang was the only European representative in the Quarter-Finals. Europe made a slightly better showing in the Ladies Singles event where two players made it through to the Quarter-Finals, with the Ukraines Larisa Griga and Juliane Schenk from host nation Germany battling through to this stage.

On his way to the last eight, Pang did knock out two fellow European representatives with Rune Ulsing of Denmark and Marc Zwiebler of Germany having their tournament hopes dashed by the Dutch marauder. These victories came after Pang had opened his tournament with a triumph over Malaysia's Lee Tueng Seng. One nation who was having far more success in the Mens Singles event was Korea who had three players in the last eight places. Shon Seung Mo was scheduled to face Pang in the Semi-Finals whilst Park Sung Hwan and Lee Hyun Il were the other two remaining players.

With the close-knit feel of the Badminton community and players extensively touring and training together, it is no surprise when matches occur between training partners and Larisa Griga, from the Ukraine, defeated two of her partner's en-route to the Quarter-Finals. Firstly Griga defeated Claudia Rivero from Peru and then defeated Switzerland's Jeanine Cicognini before her next scheduled match against China's Yang Wihan. The other European lady remaining in the competition is host nation player Juliane Schenk who will pair off against Xing Aiying of Singapore in an attempt to reach the Semi-Finals.

The dominance of Asia also translated into the Doubles event as not one European pair made it to the Quarter-Final stages in the Mens or Womens Doubles, although a familiar duo are representing Europe in the Mixed Doubles Quarter-Finals. Englands Anthony Clark and Donna Kellogg are ranked as the second best team in the event and will need to triumph over Xu Chen and Zhoa Tingting from China to be worthy of their Semi-Final placing. Europe is also represented by Vitaly Durkin and Valeria Scronika from Russia who will play Korea's Han Sang Hoon and Hwang Yu Mi in their next match-up.

Given the depth and quality of Asian players in the badminton world it is no surprise to see them perform so well at the 2008 Yonex German Open but it must be a disappointment for the European teams to not be performing better so close to home.

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