The team stage of the badminton competition has concluded, with China, the number two seed, victorious over Malaysia.
Though it was expected that it would come down to those two teams, every team has something about which to be proud and look forward to.
Chinese men’s singles player Song Xue was the most threatening player of the past two days, and is likely to excel similarly in the individual event.
Xue did not concede a single game in the three matches he played, all of them against adept players.
After a tight first game (19-21), he kicked into second gear and wiped Joo Ven Soong out 21-13.
Ven Soong should be lauded for coming so close to stealing a game from Xue; prior to this match the greatest number of points Xue conceded in a game was 16.
Having already ensured victory by winning the first three matches, the Chinese team decided to rest their women’s singles and doubles players in anticipation of the individual competition.
Australia’s two teams were forced to compete for fifth and sixth place, given that they had each defeated one opponent.
The first team naturally beat the second, in spite of the valiant efforts of 14-year-old Joy Lai, who drove her compatriot Verdet Kessler to a third and deciding game.
Lai is one of the most promising members of either team.
The greatest success in this competition for Australia has been the female pair of Jacqueline Guan and Gronya Somerville, who won all three matches in which they played—even against Great Britain, who beat every other Australian team convincingly.
Great Britain commenced their campaign in emphatic fashion, with Tom Wolfenden and Holly Smith upsetting the Australian pair.
The British were swept by their next two opponents, China and Chinese Taipei, but they too showed flashes of brilliance, most conspicuously from singles competitor Alex Lane.
Lane proved a powerful player with a whole hearted approach to the game. He will likely be a large part of Team GB’s future in badminton.
Chinese Taipei performed on a similar level to China and Malaysia, losing 3-2 against Malaysia in the semi-finals.
Their men’s doubles pair, Ko-Chi Chang and Szu Yu Chen, brought the most vigour and enthusiasm to the competition, often grunting triumphantly for the whole hall to hear after scoring a particularly satisfying point.
Chang and Chen were not all sound and fury, though, as they proved when they defeated Malaysian pair An Khang Tai and Wee Gieen Tan.
New Zealand and Oceania had similar and modest expectations entering the competition, both having a far smaller population from which to select a team and a developing popularity for the sport.
In a close contest, New Zealand snared seventh place with a 3-2 win.
Both teams managed wins against the Australian teams, which should encourage their pursuits in badminton.
For Oceania, Jennifer Tam and Remi Rossi were very dangerous, both as a doubles pair and individually.
Meanwhile, New Zealand’s roster abounds in talent—they were unlucky not to win more matches against Australia. Their standouts were powerful doubles player Jacob Morgon, and Dylan Soedjasa, who lost in a three game nail-biter against Aussie Hu-Wen Chew.
After a one day rest, all players will compete in the individual event on Saturday
Dalton Woods - Olympics.com.au