Badminton Life

Chen Jin Clinches Beijing Place

The 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing are coming up quickly and many players are starting to book their place in what is sure to be one of the most exciting games in recent memory.

Badminton may be a relatively new sport in comparison to some of the existing sports in the event but the levels of excitement being created is as high as any other sport can manage. One player who is currently delighted and looking forward to the event is Chen Jin of China. With the Olympics being held in his own host country, the chance to represent China has probably been a dream of the star for many years and he eventually booked his place in the team in dramatic style.

Facing the world number one in a semi-final of a tournament is daunting enough but to do so when vital qualification points are available adds an even greater level of expectation. The Yonex Sunrise Badminton Asian Championships in Malaysia was the scene for this scenario and Chen Jin lived up to his hopes.

It is fair to say the world number one Lin Dan did appear to be playing below his usual high level and the reaction of the crowd indicated that not everyone was happy with how the match was unfolding. With the best player in the world being vastly outplayed and the match being extremely one-sided, there were a lot of unhappy fans in the arena. Given the numerous mentions of fixed matches in Asian badminton, no doubt some fans were unhappy at the way the match was unfolding but Chen Jin triumphed with a 21-13, 21-14 match that only took 23 minutes to conclude.

It has to be said that Chen Jin knew before the tournament that he required reaching the final to gain the points needed to ensure Olympic qualification which would certainly provide him with all the motivation required to get through to the final.

However, it clearly makes sense for Team China to qualify their best players as early as possible so in the greater scheme of things, it is hard to overly blame the team for manipulating a system that is set up in such a manner that allows them to do so. It was quickly said that Lin Dan was carrying an injury which was the real reason for his poor showing but this was not the first time this year that Lin Dan has mysteriously picked up an injury when faced with a national team mate.

Whilst Chen Jin was obtaining a virtual walk-over, the other semi-final was a thrilling match up which lasted three times as long as the short match. Korea's number one player Park Sung Hwan triumphed over Sony Dwi Kuncoro by a score of 14-21, 21-16, 21-19. After running out the winner in his semi-final, Park Sung couldn't help but pass comment on the manner of the other semi-final match.

When players of the same country can play each other in matches that count for major event qualification there is always the opportunity to manipulate results to ensure the best players go through but if this means that the best players make it to the major events, it can only be good for the fans in the long run.

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