Koreans Dominate Doubles as Chinese Pair Win Third Straight Mixed Title
South Korea dominated two of the three doubles titles on offer at the All England Championship in Birmingham, but the experienced Chinese pair of Zheng Bo and Gao Ling continued their fine run in the mixed doubles.
|The Koreans won the men's and women's doubles to highlight the threat they pose to other teams at May's Thomas and Uber Cups as well as the Beijing Olympics. |
Lee Hyo-jung and Lee Kyung-won combined to beat China's Du Jing and Yu Yang 12-21, 21-18, 21-14 to win the women's doubles title.
The Koreans were guaranteed a gold medal in the men's doubles with two of their pairs in the final. In the end,? Jung Jae-sung and Lee Yong-dae beat their compatriots Lee Jae-jin and Hwang Ji-man 20-22, 21-19, 21-18 for the men's final.
It was the first time since 2000 that one country triumphed in both the men's and women's doubles at the All England championships.
The Korea women had a tough time of it overall, having had to beat three Chinese pairs on the way to the title. In the quarter-finals, they beat Gao Ling and Zhao Tingting and then disposed of Yang Wei and Zhang Jiewen in the semi-finals.
"I never expected to beat three Chinese doubles team in a row. I wish this was the Olympics," said Hyo-jung.
The Korean success followed on from the German Open the previous week when they won all five titles. In fact, the German men's doubles final also had the same two pairs with the Lee and Hwang duo? emerging as the winners.
Korea's doubles success is not a surprise for those who remember some of the great pairs from the late 80s and early 90s.
Park Joo-bong and Kim Mun-soo were among the best men's doubles pairs of all time and were virtually unbeatable at their best.
There have been other players as well, such as Kim Dong-mun, Ha Tae-gwon, Lee Dong-soo and Yu Yong-seong.
Although they have had limited success over the past few years, the Koreans are rising again and are sure to be a threat at the Beijing Olympics.
National coach Kim Jung-soo said: "I feel good about my team's chances of regaining their status."
The mixed doubles was won for the third year running by Zheng and Gao, who beat number two seeds Nova Widianto and Liliyana Natsir of Indonesia 18-21 21-14 21-9.
For Gao, it was an 11th All England title, having won six women's doubles championships as well.
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