The Suhandinata Cup – badminton’s symbol of World Junior Mixed Team supremacy – is heading to a new home!
Title holders, China, were today toppled from their throne in nail-biting fashion by Indonesia at the SCG BWF World Junior Championships in Bangkok, losing their semi-final which went down to the fifth and final match.
Locked 2-2 after China won Men’s and Women’s Doubles while the Indonesians took both singles events (right: Men’s Singles; Jonatan Christie), it came down to Mixed Doubles – pitting Huang Kaixiang and Chen Qingchen (China) against Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo and Masita Mahmudin (BWF home page).
The latter pair drew first blood, grabbing the tense opener, 21-19. China answered back to claim the second game but the Indonesians clawed to victory in the decider to secure the tie 3-2. The Mixed Doubles result – 21-19 16-21 15-21 – triggered ecstatic celebrations among the Indonesian contingent inside Hua Mark Stadium in Thailand.
Though vanquished, China were not disgraced as either team could have prevailed in this battle; the closeness of which was best exemplified by the fact that Indonesia won 219 points to China’s 217 points in the overall contest.
Beaten semi-finalists in last year’s Suhandinata Cup, Indonesia face Korea tomorrow for the title. Ironically, the Koreans were the other team which lost at the “final four” stage of the 2012 tournament and today they defeated Japan who reached last year’s final versus China.
Korea’s path to the championship clash was less fraught with angst as they overcame Japan 3-1; capturing Mixed Doubles, Men’s Singles and Women’s Singles while Japan took Men’s Doubles. Kim Hyo Min (centre below) clinched the tie, winning Women’s Singles 14-21 21-18 19-21 over her Japanese rival, Aya Ohori.
The overall points’ tally was relatively close also with Korea winning 199 points to Japan’s 190.
Having trounced Indonesia 3-0 in last year’s third-place play-off, Korea must fancy their chances of having a welcome extra piece of luggage on their return flight to Seoul.
Of course, the Indonesians will be seeking to carry the Suhandinata Cup home to Jakarta with them.
All’s set for a grand showdown tomorrow!
For all results from the Suhandinata Cup, click here.