China retained their Badminton Asia Mixed Team Championship gold medal after downing Korea 3-1 in Dubai, UAE yesterday.
World No.121 men’s singles player Lei Lan Xi put the 2019 winners one-up with a 21-16 21-15 win over Lee Yun Gyu before Gao Fang Jie, conqueror of Pusarla V. Sindhu in the semifinal, extended their lead by beating Kim Ga Eun 21-15 21-15 in women’s singles.
The 24-year-old Gao, who returned to international competitions last year after a long layoff due to ankle injury, told Gulf News: “This was the last opportunity to show my full potential, so I displayed all (the) tactics. There’s plenty of team spirit in our squad and players cheer for each other.”
Men’s pair Kim Won Ho and Na Sung Seung then prevailed 19-21 21-16 21-17 over He Ji Ting/Zhou Hao Dong in a close 75-minute contest to keep Korea, runners-up of the inaugural edition in 2017, alive.
Liu Sheng Shu and Tan Ning, the promising world No.296 women’s tandem however, were too strong for new pair Lee So Hee/Jeong Na Eun, winning 21-11 21-10 in 54 minutes to secure China their second title.
“The championship is a great learning experience for these young players, and this will help them improve their games,” said China Head Coach Xia Xuan Ze. “The mixed and women’s doubles are very promising, and we have big hopes for them. These players are the ones who will aim to qualify for the Paris 2024 and Los Angeles 2028 Olympic Games.”
Losing semifinalists India (3-2 to China on Saturday) and Thailand (3-1 to Korea) took home bronze medals.
The four nations will thus represent Asia at the TotalEnergies BWF Sudirman Cup 2023 in Suzhou, China in May.
This is the third Badminton Asia Mixed Team Championships. The 2021 edition in Wuhan, China was cancelled due to the global COVID-19 pandemic.