Kuala Lumpur (AFP) – Defending champions Indonesia defeated favourites China 3-1 in dramatic fashion to claim the Asia Team Championship badminton title on Sunday in Malaysia.
It was a remarkable but deserved victory for the Indonesians, who demonstrated consistency and discipline to win all their matches from the group stages.
Badminton powerhouse China came to the regional tournament minus their superstars such as Lin Dan and Chen Long.
But Indonesia said they still had to fight hard to take home the silverware.
“We learnt from our mistakes and we came to this tournament well prepared. It gives us the ideal preparation for the Thomas Cup in May,” Herry Iman Pierngadi, Indonesia coach told reporters after the stunning win.
The Indonesians took the lead through their first men’s singles Jonatan Christie, who recovered from a game down to beat world number seven Shi Yuqi 16-21, 21-17, 21-18.
It was a powerful attacking comeback from the 20-year-old Indonesian, who had defeated South Korea’s world number four Son Wan-Ho in the semifinals on Saturday.
Angga Pratama-Mohammad Ahsan put Indonesia closer to victory after needing only 36-minutes to dispose of He Jiting-Tan Qiang 21-19, 21-18.
Qiao Bin, however, gave China a fighting chance after he beat Anthony Sinisuka Ginting 21-12, 11-21, 21-14. But doubles pair Rian Agung Saputro/Hendra Setiawan helped Indonesia lift the title with a 21-14, 21-19 win over Han Chengkai/Zhou Haodong.
The women’s event saw Japan thrash defending champions China 3-0 for the title.
World number two Akane Yamaguchi put on a scintillating attacking display to dispose of Chen Yufei 21-16, 12-21, 21-14 to give the Japanese an early lead.
They added to that advantage through their world number two pairing of Misaki Matsutomo/Ayaka Takahashi, who beat Du Yue/Li Yinhui 21-13, 21-16 in the women’s doubles.
Nozomi Okuhara completed the triumph when she tamed He Bingjiao 19-21, 21-16, 21-10.
The Asia Team Championship consisting of three singles and two doubles also serves as Asian qualification to the Thomas Cup, where the semifinalists make the cut for the team event to be held in Thailand’s capital Bangkok in May.
Malaysia and South Korea have also qualified for the Thomas Cup finals which is one of badminton’s most prestigious team event.