Asian Qualifier: Best Friends Steer Hong Kong China to Bali

Asian Qualifier: Best Friends Steer Hong Kong China to Bali

Chan Hung Yung, Cheung Ying Mei and Wu Yi Ting had a weekend to remember as the trio combined to help Hong Kong China qualify for the ANOC World Beach Games in August.

With Indonesia as hosts and China, Korea and Malaysia already qualified by virtue of their World Team Rankings, Hong Kong’s run to the women’s triples semifinals at the Asian Qualifier in Putrajaya on Sunday ensured their berth in Bali.

The 3-1 (11-2 11-9 5-11 11-6) win over hosts Malaysia meant Hong Kong finished second behind Korea in the three-team Group A.

“We are actually best friends off court but never competed together before this event. We are delighted we got to travel to Malaysia and play as a team,” said team skipper Chan. “The wind was quite strong today so we had to get our serves right. We did just that.

“We are proud we can represent Hong Kong in AirBadminton’s debut at the World Beach Games.”

Wu, a 27-year-old former women’s doubles player, added: “This is a meaningful win because finally we got to play as one outfit.

“We have a good leader in Chan. She analysed well the wind directions and guided us in our services.”

Cheung, Chan and Wu in action during a match on Saturday.

Despite their closely fought 3-2 (11-7 9-11 11-9 7-11 9-11) last four loss to eventual winners Indonesia, Chan is confident the outing in Malaysia puts them in good stead for the actual event.

“It’s been a fun experience. Because it’s outdoors, there’s a lot of unpredictability that required us to constantly find solutions. We enjoyed that challenge,” she said.

Asked when their preparation for Bali would commence, Cheung, the quietest of the three, replied “immediately when we return home”, underling their determination.

The men’s triples team later made it a double joy for Hong Kong as they overcame Thailand 3-0 in a playoff to book their Bali spot.

They will be joined by earlier qualifiers Netherlands (Europe) and Brazil (Pan Am) at the Games. Brazil have also qualified in women’s triples alongside France. Germany and Denmark had their places confirmed based on the World Team Rankings.

With three continental qualifiers wrapped up, the only remaining one will take place at the African Beach Games in Hammamet, Tunisia next week (27-30 June).

AirBadminton’s World Beach Games debut will feature 72 athletes (36 men, 36 women) across four medal events: men’s triples, women’s triples, mixed doubles and mixed team relay.