Badminton Life



China Ready for Olympic Onslaught

China, despite dominating international badminton over the past year, are bracing for an onslaught in the Olympics in Beijing this August as rival countries do their best to unseat the world's leading badminton nation.

Chinese head coach Li Yongbo has presided over one of the best Chinese teams ever, with three players in the top four in the men's singles, and the women equally powerful.

However, difficult matches at the recent Thomas and Uber Cup team tournaments have showed that the other countries are catching up.

Far from being worried, Li has welcomed the competition, according to a news article.

"I feel that it is meaningless for China to keep winning 3-0 or 5-0. I look forward to more competition from other countries and my job is just to ensure that China wins," he said.

"I think China, Indonesia, Malaysia and Denmark are all very equal at the moment."

He may feel that they are all equal, but results still show that the Chinese have more depth than any of their rivals.

They beat South Korea 3-1 in the Thomas Cup finals after a hard-fought 3-2 victory over Malaysia in the semi-finals. The women, however, were more impressive in the Uber Cup, sweeping all before them as they romped to the title.

There are individual worries for China with world number one Lin Dan beaten in the Thomas Cup by second-ranked Malaysian Lee Chong Wei, who is now seen as one of the favourites for the Olympic title.

Women's world number one Xie Xingfang was also beaten by Yao Jie of the Netherlands. However, depth-wise, no other team can match China, who remain in a strong position to claim a clean sweep of titles at the Olympics.

Apart from Lee, players from Indonesia and South Korea are probably in the best position to challenge the Chinese dominance.

Indonesia can boast reigning Olympic men's singles champion Taufik Hidayat and Sony Dwi Kuncoro while the South Koreans have fast-improving Park Sung-hwan, the Asian champion, and Lee hyun-il.

Of the Europeans, only Denmark have the players to make a real impact with Peter Gade and Kenneth Jonassen leading the men's challenge and All England champion Tine Rasmussen their best bet in the women's competition.












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