Kenta Kazuno and Ayane Kurihara did themselves no favours in their bid to qualify for the Olympics as they crashed out in the first round of the Dong Feng Citroen Badminton Asia Championships today.
At No.18, the Japanese Mixed Doubles pair are just outside the reckoning in the Race to Rio and needed a strong performance in Wuhan to cement their qualifying place. However, they fell unexpectedly to Malaysia’s Tan Kian Meng/Lai Pei Jing (featured image) 21-14 21-15. The Malaysians earned a second round against top seeded Chinese Zhang Nan/Zhao Yunlei.
Meanwhile, the pair that is ranked just above Kazuno/Kurihara, Thailand’d Bodin Issara/Savitree Amitrapai, held off Japan’s Keigo Sonoda/Naoko Fukuman 21-18 24-22. The Thais run into China’s Liu Cheng/Bao Yixin in the second round.
Korea’s Shin Baek Cheol/Chae Yoo Jung, although ranked No.9, are not assured of a qualifying place as their compatriots Ko Sung Hyun/Kim Ha Na are ranked No.2 (two pairs from a country can qualify only if both are ranked within the top 8). The Koreans prevailed in the closest match of the day, 21-18 18-21 21-16, over Celcom Axiata Malaysia Open runners-up Chan Peng Soon/Goh Liu Ying of Malaysia.
Other first-round matches of the day saw Indonesia’s Ronald Alexander/Melati Daeva Oktaviani, Thailand’s Puavaranukroh Dechapol/Sapsiree Taerattanachai and Korea’s Kim Gi Jung/Shin Seung Chan emerge victorious.
The qualifying rounds saw some sprightly efforts from players of lesser profile. Vietnam’s Nguyen Thuy Linh outlasted Singapore’s Yeo Jia Min in 57 minutes to enter the main draw of Women’s Singles, along with World Junior champion Goh Jin Wei (Malaysia), Ho Yen Mei (also Malaysia) and Fitriani Fitriani (Indonesia).
Jordan’s Bahaedeen Ahmad Alshannik and Mohd Naser Mansour Nayef fought past Macau’s Pui Ngai Che/Pang Fong Pui 21-16 17-21 21-17 to make it to the main draw in Men’s Doubles.
“It feels good to be here and see the top players in action,” said Nayef, an English teacher in Jordan. “Badminton is becoming increasingly popular in Jordan. I started playing 13 years ago. There has been a big change in the way it is perceived back home.”
Uzbekistan’s Amrullo Bakhshullaev/Artyom Savatyugin also made the main draw beating Mongolia’s Tuguldur Boldbaatar/Gunzorig Enkhjargal 21-14 21-8. Savatyugin, who trains with plastic shuttles in Tashkent, gave a good account of himself in the qualifying rounds of Men’s Singles, going down in the second round to Singapore’s Loh Kean Yew.
“It’s hard to adjust when you train only with plastic shuttles,” said Savatyugin. “It’s wonderful to be here, to see all these players in action. My hero is Taufik Hidayat. I watch a lot of his videos. Hopefully I can get better.”
Men’s Singles: Khosit Phetpradab (Thailand), Bahaedeen Ahmed Alshannik (Jordan), Loh Kean Yew (Singapore), Artur Niyazov (Kazakhstan)
Women’s Singles: Fitriani Fitriani (Indonesia), Goh Jin Wei (Malaysia), Ho Yen Mei (Malaysia), Nguyen Thuy Linh (Vietnam)
Men’s Doubles: Bao Minh/Bao Duc Duong (Vietnam); Amrullo Bakhshullaev/Artyom Savatyugin (Uzbekistan); Bahaedeen Ahmad Alshannik/Mohd Naser Mansour Nayef (Jordan); Danny Bawa Chrisnanta/Hendra Wijaya (Indonesia)