Saturday, November 8, 2008

Shuttletalks - RCL Shuttlecocks Review

I was very excited when I was asked to review RCL’s shuttlecocks as this would be my first review on a badminton product on Shuttletalks. Before I start talking about my experience using RCL’s shuttles, let me just talk about shuttlecocks in general.
Firstly there at 16 feathers in the shuttlecock with each feather 70mm in length. Why is it not 18, 20 or 24 but 16? Honestly I dont have an answer but I think the size, weight of the shuttle and the racquet head size was taken into consideration when they developed a shuttle. A badminton shuttlecock weighs around 4.75 - 5.50 grams. The diameter of the cork is 25-28mm and the diameter of the circle that the feathers make is around 54mm.

The feathers from the shuttles come from Geese as their feathers are strong and are suited for durability. The top grade shuttles have their feathers selected from the right wing on the goose and I was told that only a few feathers from the wings have the natural shape to make top grade shuttles.

Ok now for the real stuff… I was given 3 types of shuttles from RCL which are RCL’s Professional, Titanium and No.1. Professional being their second grade shuttles with the flight speed of 77, while Titanium was their first grade - 76 speed and No.1 being their top grade with the flight speed of 77. To me what is important is the flight of the shuttle, how the flight is maintained throughout and of course the durability of the shuttles.

With the 3 criteria’s as above, I went to the courts on Sunday to try the shuttles out with my buddies who normally use RSL shuttles ( I don’t think they are brothers or family). We normally play doubles and what better way to put these shuttles to the test. We started off playing with the Professional grade - At the start of the game, the shuttle had a very nice flight speed. Since it was doubles, there were a lot of smashing and attacking plays. One thing I notice when I was playing was that after a while, the shuttle starts losing its rounded shape at the diameter which is quite common among mid range shuttles. With that the speed of the shuttle was faster which was still alright to play with. After close to 10 points in the doubles game, we had to change the shuttle as the flight of the shuttle was just getting way faster. We used the same shuttle again during the game to give it another shot, this time around, the shuttle kept its shape during the game and we played till it wore out in slightly more than 10 points. A change of shuttle was needed in this set. As you can see below, the shuttle still had its shape but I think the shuttle’s durability is something I would consider to enhance.

RCL Professional

We decided to give the Titanium a chance this time. The shuttle was slower that the professional in general but one thing we noticed was that the Titanium was slightly more durable than the Professional in general. I didn’t like the speed as I prefer the 77 speed compared to 76. With the Titanium, the shuttle speed maintained well during the game. The feathers were durable too which is related to the speed. The shuttle lasted longer compared to the Professional however our arms got tired of the speed of the shuttle and decided to give another titanium a go. The second shuttle maintained a consistent result with the first which was good. If you look closely, you would notice that the feathers were still looks in shape and strong.

RCL Titanium after the game
A couple of matches later I decided to give the No. 1 a shot. Before even hitting the shuttle, you could feel the difference by just holding the shuttle. The feathers were well shaped and it felts stronger than the rest but then again this is top grade right. Putting the top grade shuttle to the test, we continued playing some heavy doubles. The speed of the shuttle was lovely to play with and on top of that, we were smashing extra hard to test the shuttle durability. One thing which I liked was that the shuttle could last us quite a long while with the heavy hitting, the shuttle speed was still close to what it was when we started. We played again using another shuttle just to check its consistency and to me it lived up to it being a top grade shuttle.

RCL No.1 before & after the game


Overall I would say that I would go and buy myself the RCL No.1 compared to the rest as I think it is durable and I like the flight of the shuttle. The cost for the Professional is RM 40 while the Titanium is around RM50 and the No. 1 is RM60. I think I would save money using the No.1 compared to buying the Professional simply because with the professional, it wears out very fast and I think I'll end up buying 2 tubes of the Professional compared to spending a little more for the No.1.

My buddies have mentioned that the price of shuttles in Malaysia is going to go up by RM3-5 per tube.. I think that the hike is crazy as badminton is becoming a more and more expensive game to play due to the cost of shuttles. I really hope that manufacturers would make badminton a less expensive sport so that more and more children can have the opportunity to enjoy with wonderful sport.

Ciao da maoz

Monday, November 3, 2008

French Open - Peter Gade takes the Men’s Singles Championship

Peter Gade playing his second finals in 2 weeks had a tough task in hand playing this finals against the on form Taufik Hidayat. This was one exciting game I’ve watched between these two great players. I was hoping for Taufik to take the title but Peter Gade coming into the game has been on great form.

The first game started with explosive speeds between both players and the level of the first set was one of the best singles games this year. Taufik coming in the game by playing 4 rubber sets in his journey to this final playing 3 hours and 46 minutes in the court where else Peter Gade had a total of 2 hours and 46 minutes of court time. Saying this I never expected Taufik to take the first set, but he again showed us what a great player he was by taking Peter Gade point by point in the highly intense game. Peter Gade was playing a very quick and attacking play while Taufik, defending well and converting the defence to attack. Taufik and Peter were playing some good drives around the court and both players were trying to keep the shuttle low and to create opportunity to attack. Taufik took the first game 21-16.

By taking the first game, Peter Gade changed his style of play by pulling Taufik all around the court with some great pushes and some great smashes. Taufik was still competing point by point in the second set taking all of Peter Gade’s shots and still managing to show us some great net play and some great control of the game. The game was levelled at 17-17 however Peter Gade played some fantastic attacking cross court shots to catch Taufik off guard and to win the game 21-17. It was already 40 minutes coming into the final set. This time around, Peter Gade looked fresher than Taufik who looked tired and it showed in the final set. Taufik went down easily to Peter Gade 21-7 for Peter Gade to clinch his second title in as many weeks.

All credit to Peter Gade as he managed to showcase some really brilliant badminton with Taufik. Credit to Taufik for his brilliant performance throughout the whole tournament. Both players showed some great sportsmanship and are great ambassadors to the game. The French Crowd were lucky to have seen one of the greatest badminton being played in their country and I must say, I bet the players must have had a fantastic experience playing for the lovely bunch of fans. The fans were superb and they have shown support to both Peter and Taufik and they made the atmosphere a wonderful one for players and spectators.

The French Open – Helped both players re-discover their love for badminton and it brought fans to love the game even more!

I Love this game! :)

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Excuse my French - Taufik Hidayat is Back!!!


Guess whose back on form? Just take a wild guess? Let me introduce you to the "Most natural and talented Badminton Player", Taufik Hidayat! Its a real pleasure to see this great man come back in form as the Badminton World has missed his world class play for more than 2 years now..


Coming into the Men's Singles French Open Semi's between Taufik and Lee Chong Wei, everyone would have thought that Lee Chong Wei would prove his World No.1 ranking by taking revenge from his defeat in the Macau Open against Taufik. Both players took a break from the Dutch Open to prepare themselves for this tournament.


Both players looked well prepared entering the competition and looking at the semi's match-up, it was an exciting match to watch. Some background lining up to the Semi's, Taufik has played 3 sets for all of his earlier rounds, and all of the matches were tough games for him. On the other side, Lee Chong Wei entered the Semi's by defeating all of his opponents in straight sets. This means in paper that Lee Chong Wei has a fresher legs coming to the Semis. On top of that, in recent years, Taufik is not known to have great stamina.


With all of these lined up for the Semi's most Malaysians were rooting for Chong Wei to take the Semis match. The game started well with Chong Wei taking the first game 21-16 as Chong Wei hit his form early in the match. Taufik knew he had to push the game to the next level by changing his style of play to a more aggressive style and he managed to do just that. He played some awesome sharp net plays and some really accurate smashes to catch Chong Wei off guard which led him to take the second set easily 21-14.


At this point, you can see two different class/standard of plays; the current World No. 1, Chong Wei and the former World No. 1, Taufik. Taufik showing to the world and the lucky French spectators that he's back in his Old Glory Playing days by playing one of his best badminton ever in the past 2 years. Each and every stroke of Taufiks had an intention/direction and he studied/anticipated every of Chong Wei strokes. Chong Wei had no answer to the mighty Taufik Hidayat! His smashes were easily returned, not just a normal return but there was one returned which STUNNED Chong Wei and MYSELF! In the 3rd and deciding set, Chong Wei had a 3/4 court opportunity to smash on the backhand side of the court which he did. Chong Wei smashed the shuttle as hard as he could cross court, to Taufik’s Backhand. As Chong Wei made the smash, he rushed forward like how anyone would anticipate a low return due to the speed of the smash. But to everyone amazement, Taufik moved his body to the backhand return and he pushed the shuttle right back to the baseline of Chong Wei's overhead and he caught Chong Wei as Chong Wei was moving to the front. As a badminton player, I have not seen such a return in ages as one need to be quick and one needs to have a strong wrist to make such a return and Taufik is the man!


On top of that there was another Taufik moment when he placed a net play for Chong Wei and Chong Wei anticipated the net play hence why he jumped forward to the net to push the shuttle to Taufik’s backhand while catching Taufik who was in the front of the net. Taufik being caught off position chased the shuttle with his back facing Chong Wei to retrieve the backhand shot which was already close to the floor. To everyone who plays badminton would only anticipate that the next shot Taufik would play would either go out, or be hanging at the front of the opponent’s court. Again, Taufik shows the world by actually driving the shuttle to Chong Wei's baseline forehand which caught Chong Wei by surprise.


Taufik took the 3rd game even easier than the 2nd by winning 21-12. There is a video download from simplybadminton's site to all those who have missed this great matchup [video 1; video 2]. This was a superb performance by Taufik and to me I think the only player who can take Lin Dan is the great Taufik Hidayat. You rarely see Taufik shows his emotions after winning but this time around, he was all smiles after beating Chong Wei. I was lucky to catch the game on Astro :) Hope you guys enjoy it too.. Taufik will be playing his old rival Peter Gade in the finals and this would be like an Old School Reunion for badminton!


Ciao da mao!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Badminton - the fastest racquet stroke in the world!

Did you know that Badminton is the fastest racquet stroke in the world? According to some stats which you can find in Wikipedia, Men's doubles player Fu Haifeng of China set the official world smash record of 332 km/h (206 mph) on June 3, 2005 in the Sudirman Cup. The fastest smash recorded in the singles competition is 305 km/h (189 mph) by Taufik Hidayat of Indonesia. The fastest recorded tennis stroke is Andy Roddick's 153 mph (246 km/h) serve; the fastest recorded badminton stroke is Fu Haifeng's 206 mph (332 km/h) smash.

Do note that how they measure the speed is at the point of contact of the smash. Since the shuttle is lighter than a tennis ball, the speed of the shuttle will decelerate much faster than a tennis ball or a squash ball. I've tried playing tennis and it was so easy to serve a hard and power serve compared to badminton as the racquets are also heavier. It does take much more strength for a player to produce a hard and fast smash compared to other sports hence why I feel badminton is one of the most challenging games in the world.

Taufik's record of the fastest smash in a singles game:

Fu Haifeng's world record smash:

Have you tried capturing the speed of your smash? Well I plan to do so someday soon just for fun! If you have tested the speed of your smash, would be great if you would let me know your speed.

Ciao da mao

Monday, October 13, 2008

Mental trainer to accompany Chong Wei during tournaments

I'm glad that the NSC and Misbun share the same opinion as myself that Chong Wei needed a mental trainer. I think its a good move for them to have a mental trainer for our players as honestly I think most of our players lack that mental strength. However there are a few arguement points which I would like to state.

I spoke to a few people and what I've gathered is that bottom line is that our players had it easy for them hence why they are not mentally strong. Looking at countries like China and Indonesia, where the people are poor.. Parents send their kids to the academy in an early age and all of them are put thru a very difficult and long journey since they were young. There were thousands of talent to choose from and all of them are taught to endure and fight to have a chance to represent their countries. Since its so difficult to represent their country, they have been taught to survive at an early age. They are trained to battle and to accept challenges which comes their way hence why they have better mental strength. In Denmark, players are professionals and survive based on the sponsors they get and that comes with the number of tournaments you win. As the saying goes "The going get tough, the tough gets gets going".

Where else in Malaysia, we pay the players huge sums of money depending on their rankings and all of them mostly did not have a hard growing up badminton life. Well if you even look back at the times of

Tan Aik Huang, the Malaysian team then had to raise their own funds to buy their air tickets for the All England. They won many All Englands and trophies at that era as they knew how to work hard for success. Some people also have commented that our players are not serious at their training sessions and they fool around. These are the kind of attitude which wont get us anywhere and I think not only a mental trainer is required but someone to discipline them too.

Saying this, I think a mental trainer like Federik Tan may not even be a solution for the Malaysia team or will it? Lets not spoil our players much and let them earn their money based on how they perform or thru tournaments.

Ciao da mao

Saturday, October 11, 2008

All Time Badminton Favourite Player...

Hi Guys..

Badminton has evolved thru the years from the racquets used, the points system and the style of play. Through out the years and changes, I've seen many players play the game and I've always had a favourite player who I looked up to or who I admire..

During my younger days.. hmmmm well when i was 12 :) My favourite player was Malaysia's singles Rashid Sidek. I'm not too sure if anyone of you heard of him.. Anyhow, he's Misbun Sidek's brother who was Malaysia's hope in Mens Singles Badminton in the early 90's. I knoww it's weird to have him as my favourite but I used to like his style of play. He favourite shots were the deceptive chops and net plays during his time.. One of my favourite games was when he beat Zhao Jian Hua and Ardy Wiranata in the Thomas Cup Finals rounds of 1992 for Malaysia to win the cup.. It was one of my best moments as a Malaysian fan and the whole country was celebrating that victory and the best part was we got a holiday after andddd the player received RM 1 Million in land.. That was the last time we won the Thomas Cup check out the video..







My favourite doubles players are Park Joo Bong and Kim-Moon Soo from South Korea. By far to me one of the most successful doubles badminton players of all time. The pair is known for being one of the smartest doubles pairs of all time. They are known to have good reflexes, good anticipation, speed and intelligence during a game. It lead them to 9 All England Doubles titles, 5 World Championships and 1 Olympic Gold. Reason I like them is that they could adapt to any style of play and secondly they change their style of play to their advantage during the game.



So tell me who are your badminton favourite players of all time? Looking forward to hear from you all and lets see who are the top all time favourites..

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Macau Open Video - Kien Keat/Boon Heong - Chieh Min/Sheng Mu

We also have the men's doubles of the Macau Open between Kien Keat/Boon Heong (M'sia) vs Chieh Min/Sheng Mu (TPE). It's good to see the Malaysians win, however it was not one of the best performance but it was good enough for them to clinch their first title of the year.

Part 1


Part 2


Part 3


Part 4


Part 5

Macau Open Video- Taufik Hidayat's best game of 2008


G'day badminton lovers!


Guess today must be my lucky day as I've managed to find a video of Macau Open's best final match! You guys who missed the match must watch the video as it's the best performance of Taufik this year and I have not seen him play this well before.. Did you know that Taufik holds the fastest smash for the Men's Singles? His fastest smash is 305 km/h (189 mph) which is much faster than a tennis player! Well today just shows you how fast his smashes are.. We also know that Chong Wei is one of the best retrievers and one of the fastest players in the court and yet he had no answers to Taufik's smashes..


On top of that, we also know that Chong Wei is a very tricky player and he's fast to the net, quick in tapping opponents net plays. Again, Taufik shows us how accurate his net plays are, which Chong Wei could not tap. Taufik had deceived Chong Wei many times with his trick shots, which I found amuzing.


Finally, Taufik made 2 killer finishings to the 2 sets!! Check out Taufik's last smash on the first set! That's what I call accuracy! :) Also his final return of Chong Wei's net shot.. WOW!


Lets let the badminton do the talking! Enjoy peeps! Do feel free to share what you think of the game..

Part 1






Part 2






Part 3






Part 4






Part 5






Part 6






Ciao da mao!


Mark

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Macau Open - Taufik Hidayat wins first title of the year!


Wow! What a fantastic performace by Taufik in the Macau Open finals 2008! Taufik Hidayat, played Lee Chong Wei in the finals and I predicted that he would lose to Chong Wei as I felt Chong Wei is a much faster and fit player. I was wrong and what an exciting finals it was..

Taufik looked like he was back to him glorious form as he played a brilliant game againts Chong Wei. Taufik knew he had a long task ahead as Chong Wei was fitter and faster than him. What Taufik did was he pulled Chong Wei to various corners of the court forcing Chong Wei to hit half court shots for Taufik's smashing winners. Taufik won the game 21-19 and 21-15.

It's been a while since I've seen Taufik play such an aggresive and attacking play. His trick shots were much more deceptive and his net shots were sharper than Chong Wei's. In all angles, Taufik looked to be the player he was 4 years back and Chong Wei had no reply to Taufik's game. With this form, I think if Taufik were fit for the Olympics, Chong Wei would have lost to him in the early stages.

"The key (for my victory) was to win the first game. Then in the second game, I felt less pressure to play my best," Taufik was quoted as saying by Antara.

“Chong Wei is known for his attacking, explosive and deceptive game. But he was extra cautious today and allowed Taufik to take total control,” Misbun said.

“Taufik is an intelligent player and he knows how to take advantage (of situations). Chong Wei will just have to continue with his efforts to justify his ranking as world number one. He has given his best and it will be more training for him after this,” said Misbun Sidek (Chong Wei's coach).

I am happy for Taufik as I think he is the only few players in the world who can take on Lin Dan and challenge for the world No. 1 spot. As for Chong Wei, he has to start winning tournaments to prove his world No. 1 Status..

Cant seem to find the finals video online.. if you manage to find it do let me know.. Also do share what you think of the mens singles finals!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Macau Open Video 2008

It seems to be very difficult to get my hands of some tournament pictures. I really wonder who does the updates for badminton tournament sites as its not done well enough like a tennis tournament site. I think for the game to pick up, these small things like a proper, relavent and updated website is needed.

WBF and BAM, I think you need to relook at your website strategy as a main channel to grow the sport. Millions and millions of people turn to the web to get updates of badminton as the game is not broadcasted in their countries. Since the internet is an open medium of communication, why do it up well with videos, interviews, blogs from players to increase the viewership. If you are reading this, do contact me and I would love to help ya out! :)

Here are some Macau Open video for badminton lovers around the world! Enjoy and I do hope that more and more people would be helping me find badminton videos for me to post up.





Ciao da mao

Macau Open - Koo Kien Keat, Tan Boon Heong vs Chieh Min Fang, Lee Sheng Mu Mens Doubles Finals

In the doubles, Koo Kien Keat and Tan Boon Heong (M’sia) finally got their act together to reach the finals of the Macau Open. The top seeds defeated Fernando Kurniawan and Lingga Lie (Ind) 21-14 & 25-23.

In the other finals, my buddy Chan Chong Ming and Chew Choon Eng (M’sia) fell to second seeds Chieh Min Fang and Lee Sheng Mu (TPE) in three sets, 18-21, 21-14 & 11-21. I was really crossing my fingers to see Chong Ming and Chew Eng win the game as it would be an interesting to see two Malaysians play in the finals.

Oh well, that didn’t seem to happen and now it would be a different ball game for Kien Keat and Boon Heong as all of Malaysia will be looking at them to win. If they fail to win, somehow I feel that their time is running out as Rexy would be splitting the pair. Lets see what happens..

Ciao da mao..

Macau Open - Julia Wong vs Mi Zhou Womens Singles Finals

Julia Wong (M’sia) makes her first finals of the year by defeating fourth seed Pui Yin Yip (HK) 17-21, 23-21 & 21-17 in 60 minutes. Before this tournament, I would not have expected Julia to go this far if one would have asked me but her steady performance this tournament is a boost to her and Malaysia’s womens singles.


Mi Zhou (HK) is making her second finals in a row after taking the Chinese Masters last week. She had a difficult game againts Jinging Zhu (Chi) winning 20-22, 21-18 & 21-16 in 59 minutes.


Mi Zhou a former Chinese player will use her experience and her high morale from last weeks win to take Julia in the finals. I think Mi Zhou will take the game in three sets as Julia lacks the experience and it would be her first finals. What do you think? Mi Zhou will take it easily? or will there be an upset?

Ciao

Macau Open Taufik Hidayat vs Lee Chong Wei - Mens Singles Finals

Hi guys..

Its going to be an exciting finals in this Macau Open.. It’s been a while since I’ve seen Taufik Hidayat (Ind) play Lee Chong Wei (M’sia) and it would be a fun to watch match. Taufik defeated Kuan Beng Hong (M’sia) 21-11 & 21-12 in 29 minutes while Chong Wei defeated Yunus Alamsyah (Ind) 21-13 & 21-14 in 37 minutes.

Taufik is one of my favourite players in the world who is also one of the most talented however I think Chong Wei will take the game easily. For Taufik to win, he has to take the first game and push hard for the second. If the game goes to three sets, I think Taufik is not fully fit to win. Chong Wei is the top seed and should take the game in two sets.

What do you guys think? Taufik or Chong Wei? Straight games or three sets?

Ciao
Mark

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Yonex Japan Open 2008 - Semi’s Round ups and Videos

Men's Singles

To start off the Semi's roundups, I would like to begin with Lee Chong Wei (M'sia) who picked up his pace and form to win easily againts Joachim Persson (Den) 21-6 & 21-4. It was cruise control for Chong Wei as Persson could not find a way to break thru Chong Wei's defence and Chong Wei played with so much confidence with consistent strokes and smashes to win. It was like as though Chong Wei was just toying around with Persson. Thanks to our buddy mmorita3 in YouTube, we're able to have a video on the games.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P-Fs58qCbr4]
[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mpw_szQrWEM]
[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FSnOFzvdnDc]
[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QRyulTrmLeg]

In the other Semi's Sony Dwi Kuncoro (Ind) defeated Kenichi Tago (Japan) 21-15 & 21-16. It was not an easy game as one would assume for Sony has he was made to work hard againts the homeboy Kenichi. However Sony's experience played an important role as he kept his composure to win.


[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TVM5OccJ5iM]
[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8wwsUuRDQ-Q]


Women's Singles

There were two upsets in the singles when last years champion Tine Rasmussen (Den), lost to Wang Yihan (Chn) 21-15 & 21-18.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YB7qPpaIKjU]

The other upset came when Zhou Mi (Hongkong) defeated world no. 2 Lu Lan (Chi) in 3 sets 21-9, 13-21, & 13-21. Zhou commented “It has been a long time not to meet Lu in the match whose stroke style has changed. In fact, I was playing as if we met first time and the difficulty to adapt the wind direction due to air condition made me lost the first game.” But Zhou could recover very well from the second and played better in third game.

Men's Doubles
Young Indonesian pair, Ahsan/Septano, won the match against fellow Indonesians Yonatan Suryatama Dasuki, Rian Sukmawan 21-16 and 21-19. Septano commented that he is very happy and didn’t expect to go this far. Looks like Indonesia has some young talent in the rise and it can be worrying to Malaysia if they continue to groom these talents to the right direction.


[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LtUCMuBunb8]

In the other doubles, second seed Lars Paaske, Jonas Rasmussen (Den) defeated home favourites Keita Masuda, Tadashi Ohtsuka (Jpn) 21-17 & 21-16. Both pairs played some good badminton however the experience Lars and Jonas played a much more attacking play forcing the Japanese pair to defend most of the time. Heart breaking moment for the Japanese fans as their players failed to qualify for a finals this time around.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M9TQNuGBZ-U]

Women's Doubles
Cheng Su, Zhao Yunlei (Chn) defeated Miyuki Maeda, Satoko Suetsuna (Jpn) 21-15, 21-16. The Japanese pair had many chances to attack however, their attack could not break thru to Cheng and Zhao's defence hence forcing them to lift to the Chinese pair. It was more or less a one sided game however credit to Park Joo Bong for bringing the Japanese pair this far.


[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2OJl_2hLdK0]
[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VpX6XRn5OFc]


Malaysia's Wong Pei Tty and Chin Eei Hui continued their fine run by reaching their first ever Japan Open Finals defeating Vita Marissa , Liliyana Natsir (Ind) 21-11 18-21 21-18. Well done to Pei Tty and Eei Hui. I think it would be a good final to watch however I favour the Chinese to win this.

Mix Doubles
It's an all Indonesia finals in the Mix doubles when Nova Widianto/Lilyana Natsir (Ind) and Muhammad Rijal/Vita Marissa (Ind) managed to overcame their opponents to make it a dream Indonesian finals.

Thats all folks.. Will update ya'll with the final results!

Ciao da mao

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Yonex Japan Open Roundup Day 4

Men's Singles
Perrson playing againts Taufik Perrson(DEN) won 2-1 against Hidayat(INA). Persson lost 1st game easily, but 2nd and 3rd game, he used his big and sharp smash resulting his going to semifinal 12-21, 21-19 & 23-21. Results show that it was a close match however again, Taufik needs to improve more on his fitness levels in order to start winning competitions.

Lee Chong Wei however pulled off a close game by winning his match againts the qualifier Yanbo Qi (Chi) 21-17 & 21-17. Chong Wei has been made to push himself at every game in this tournament and it would be interesting to see if he can continue his winning streak as World No. 1.

Sony Dwi (Ind) pulled an easy win over Malaysia's Veteran Roslin Hashim in the other quater finals match, 21-16 & 21-11. I remember Roslin as a player who played againts my senior players during his Secondary School Days and what amazes me is that he is still playing in the international arena.

Women's Singles
Lu Lan returning a shot againts Maria
Lan Lu(CHN) won the very tough match 2-1 against M.K.Yulianti(INA).She said it was very hard espesically losing 1st game. 2nd game onward she tried to concentrate to get points one by one. Because she lost the match for Bronze medal against this strong rival Yulianti, she was very eager to win 13-21, 22-20 & 22-20.

To me Maria Yulianti is the most promising player of 2008. She continues to grow and mature in every match and I think by next year, she'll be a force to recon with. M.Zhou(HKG),winner of 2002 YOJ beat overwhelmingly H.Y.Hwang as expected.

Mens Doubles
Yonatan Suryatama Dasuki, Rian Sukmawan (ind) pulled off an upset by beating 2008 Olympic Champions Markis Kido and Hendrawan (Ind) 21-17, 14-21 & 21-19.

Two Japanese pairs will be joining Yonata and Rian in the Semis, Shintaro Ikeda [6], Shuichi Sakamoto defeated Muhammad Ahsan, Bona Septano (Ind) while Keita Masuda [4], Tadashi Ohtsuka defeated Tony and Candra (Ind). I think its going to be a very exciting doubles Semi's and my bets are on Lars Paaske, Jonas Rasmussen the second seeds who defeated Chris Adcock, Robert Blair 21-15 21-18 to win the title.

Mixed Doubles
Widianto/Natsir(INA) performed fine conbination all through the match and beat Limpele/Polii(INA). Widianto's strong smash and Natsir's attack at top court were remarkable.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Yonex Japan Open Day 1

News from the Yonex Badminton Open... So far the seeded players did fairly well.. In the Malaysian News today, Misbun has said he has high expectations of Mew Choo to beat Lu Lan as he has been putting her thru some aggressive attacking drill during training. It would be interesting to see how she fairs based on these expectations. However I think one of the main thing which Misbun should do is to strengthen her mentally.


Besides getting the news, somehow am trying to get some videos to view however again, its sad not to find them in YouTube. I really hope that a badminton fan who has found a video link to the Japan Open would send me a post :)


Men's Singles


Both promising players, T.Hidayat(INA) and C.W.Lee(MAS) won the match overwhelmingly in total. Lee experienced rather tough first game due to both of his slow starting and opponents' good performance.


S.Sato(JPN) lost the match against J.Persson(DEN) and failed to make his first win at this tournament. Sato agonized of Persson's sharp smash and drop shot.


Peter Gade(DEN) lost 1-2 against W.Gong(CHN). He said,"Though I played well,opponent played better". This time Denmark team had no supporting team and it was a little handicap for him.


K.Tago(JPN) rather beat easily strong Chen Yu(CHN).He felt Chen was a little lack of concentration, while he himself could keep speed and hight. He also well prepared for Chen's round the head shot to win the rally.


Women's Singles


Tine came back to YOJ as defending champion in the Women’s Singles.She was seeded second in this tournament and played the first round today.She was against Ai Goto of Japan, whom Tine did not know well, however she knew Goto was a good player with strong track record among Japanese players..She said after the match, “I could concentrate on the court focusing in getting one point by one point. I felt a lot of pressure when entering the court, however I told to myself that if you do whatever I have trained, the result will be there. I also went through a mental training as well and this helped a lot to win the game.Denmark does not give a priority to this tournament and this is why this time she was not accompanied with her coach, however she was very happy to coma back here again as a defending champion and looks very much for ward to repeating the same this year at YOJ 2008.


E.Hirose (JPN) joyfully won the big match against No3.ranked.Zhu Lin (CHN) 21-10 14-21 21-17.She played persistently and made this very good performance.She said : She performed exercise for Beijing Olympic, which made her have confidence in herself.Second game was rather hard, but at final game, Zhu Lin made several mistakes resulting Hirose's win.
She is very glad to have won this tournament after certain long term, and wishes to play consistently game by game to perform good result, tomorrow onward. Also she is very grateful for warm cheering by audience.


Zhu Lin(CHN);After Beijing Olympic, she did not have enough time for exercise, so felt a little hard physically. She regret not to have been able to keep temper on the judgment to her shot which she believed safe.


Mixed Doubles
Masda & Maeda(JPN) beat Adcock & Olver 2-0. Both pairs were nervous a little under tension and made rather many mis-shots. Masda said that his service was too bad, while Maeda made it very well and contributed their win.

Badminton Live Streaming - Japan Open

Hello again people... After a long break, a 6 star Badminton Japan Open tournament follows thru the Olympics. To catch the games LIVE at GDTV Sport Channel (SopCast or TVAnts) for the Semi Finals and Finals.
20 Sep 11:00 am Semi Finals
21 Sep 11:00 am Finals

An alternate channel would be this site myp2p.eu :) http://myp2p.eu/index.php?part=sports
Hope you guys enjoy it :)

Ciao

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Beijing Olympics Badminton Videos

Well somehow its quite difficult to find badminton videos on the net.. Thanks to YouTube, here are some of the videos which I’ve managed to get…

My Fav Moments from the Badminton Beijing OlympicsBadminton:

1. First, the Badminton Doubles Finals between Markis Kido - Hendra Setiawan (Indonesia) vs Cai Yun and Fu Haifeng (China). The Indonesians played some fantastic doubles against China’s top pair. They managed to come back from behind to overcome the 6.900 fans to win a game which was filled with smashing moments throughout. Honestly I didn’t expect this after they lost the first game… they showed that being No. 1 you have to be strong mentally to maintain focus throughout the game.. Click here to view.

2. My second favourite final was the Women’s Singles Finals between Zhang Ning (China) vs Xie Xingfang (China), where Zhang Ning won 21-12 10-21 and 21-18. This game was filled with exciting moments from the start to the end. The game showcased that age doesn’t matter too much just as long as you have the willpower to fight it thru. Zhang showed us just that by overcoming the odds to beat the current world no.1 Xie Xingfang. Honestly, Zhang has stamped her mark at the games by defending her previous Olympic Gold medal. Click here to view.

3. The third video would be the Bronze medal match between Indonesia’s young and rising star Maria Kristin (Indonesia) who upset the world no.3 Lu Lan (China) 11-21, 21-13 and 21-15. No one expected Maria to go far in the games, however she created the most upsets as she managed to overcome her various seeded opponents to grab to Bronze for Indonesia. Click here to view.

4. Finally the Men’s Singles finals was the most anticipated game everyone wanted to watch.. No doubt many people were disappointed with the way Chong Wei (Malaysia) lost to Lin Dan (China), however if you take a step back and look at it, you would see that Lin Dan did what Usain Bolt did for the 100m. Lin Dan had a point to prove to the world and he choose the right time to prove his supreme dominance in the sport by giving Chong Wei a whooping. There can never be a World Record for badminton, but the scoreline in that finals would never be repeated for sure in the future Badminton Olympic Finals. Click here to view.

Alternatively, you could view the video's in my wordpress site, http://smashingmark.wordpress.com

Ciao da mao!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Badminton and Shuttletalks is back..

Hi guys and girls,

To all the thousands of badminton fans who visit this blog, I would like to apologize to all of you for not updating the blog.. I was quite busy with work and been running around quite a lot.

To make up for the 2 weeks of my lack of updates, I'm going to post videos of the Beijing Olympics which I found in YouTube. If you have more links to Beijing Olympics Badminton, pls feel free to post them ere and share it with the others... Anyhow, I hope you guys enjoy it..

Ciao da mao!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Lin Dan wins Badminton Olympic Gold

World No. 1 Lin Dan crushed Malaysia’a Golden hopes by trashing World No. 2 Lee Chong Wei 21-12, 21-8 to win the Men’s Singles Badminton Olympic Gold.

There were a lot of buzz and hype about the finals, but to me the game ( I mean Chong Wei) did not live to the expectations. Lin Dan proved his dominance with very forceful strokes and with his lightning court coverage. He studied every move Chong Wei made and he was quick to react to every shot to his advantage. Lee Chong Wei did not have any answers to “Super” Dan on that day.
“I felt a lot of pressure playing in front of my home crowd,” said an exhilarated Lin. “I thought it would be difficult to play the match and the pressure of the crowd might even be to my disadvantage, but I played well.” All credits to Lin Dan for that superb performance and for rising to the occasion. This is what makes him a world champion.


Lin Dan winning the gold medal

On the other hand, if we look at Lee Chong Wei, when he was entering the court, he had that nervous look on his face. In my mind I asked the question, “A world No. 2 showing his nervousness before the game? How can this be?” We were always thought to enter the court like a Tiger (Like what Lin Dan did).

“I suffered a lot of pressure tonight but I do not want to use it as an excuse for my defeat,” Chong Wei said. What a statement… To me, I think Lin Dan had more pressure on his hands than Chong Wei did.

“I have tried my best but Lin Dan played perfectly tonight,” said Malaysian sport icon Lee. “I couldn’t match his shuttle speed. He was much stronger than me and controlled the whole match.” That’s a good thing, he gives praises when its due.


“At the end of the match it is not who is playing at a higher level, it is all about who is mentally stronger,” Lee commented on his loss. Again, why isn’t Chong Wei mentally stronger than or as strong mentally as Lin Dan? After all he’s the world no. 2. I can’t recall if I’ve seen Nadal never looking nervous when he played Federer and neither should Chong Wei. It shows what kind of mental strength the Malaysians have. To me, they can’t handle pressure, hence why we only managed 1 silver.

I would like to end on some reason’s on Why Lin Dan had more pressure on his hands:
1. China’s target was to get 3 gold medals. Less than that it would be a failure. If Lin Dan lost, it would be a failure for China.

2. Lin Dan had 6,800 supporters in the stadium watching and expecting him to win. On top of that, I dont know how many million Chinese were watching the game supporting Lin Dan.

3. Lin Dan lost to Chong Wei in the Thomas Cup, more pressure for him to win.


Ciao da mao
Mark

Lee Hyo-jung and Lee Yong-dae grabs South Korea’s Badminton Gold

South Korea’s Lee Hyo-jung and Lee Yong-dae won Korea’s only Badminton gold medal in mixed doubles badminton. They defeated Indonesia’s Liliyana Natsir and Nova Widianto 21-11, 21-17.
The Korean’s were seen playing some good defence as the Indonesian’s found it hard to gain points through smashes. On top of that the Korean’s played a good mix of speed and intelligent net play which contributed to their victory.


Lee Hyojung and Lee Yongdae celebrating

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Markis Kido and Hendra Setiawan wins the Men's Doubles

Markis Kido and Hendra Setiawan won Indonesia's first gold medal in the Men's Doubles of the Beijing Olympics 2008. They put up a fantastic display of badminton doubles silencing the Chinese supporters in the second and third game to win 21, 21-11 and 21-16 over Cai Yun and Fu Haifeng.

This was one of the best doubles matches I've seen Markis Kido and Hendra Setiawan play as they had a very good understanding between them and they played a very very very attacking game. The Indonesian's started off slowly losing the first game with the Chinese crowd behind the Chinese pair at every point. However in the second and third game, the Indonesians pulled themselves together and decided to push the game to 6th gear by playing an agrresive attacking style all the way. The indonesians fed each other from the front of the net, forcing the Chinese pair to lift the shuttle allowing the Hendra or Markis to produce hard smashes to win.

I felt that the key element which contributed to the success of the Indonesians was the fact that they did not lift the shuttle much and they were much faster in fornt of the net. When Hendra was playing in front of the net, he anticipated every shot that the opponent hit and covered the front very well. He droved many shots to the opponents body and empty court spaces which lead to the Indonesian's winning a lot of shots from the front of the net. They took the third set with ease to be crowed the Badminton Doubles Champion in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

South Korea's Lee Jae Jin and Hwang Ji Man won the bronze medal.


Hendra Setiawan and Markis Kido with the gold medals (Photo credit: Getty Images)

If you've missed the game, you can catch it here.

Mens Doubles Gold Medalist: Markis Kido and Hendra Setiawan
Mens Doubles Silver Medalist: Cai Yun and Fu Haifeng
Mens Doubles Bronze Medalist: Lee Jae Jin and Hwang Ji Man

Zhang Ning retains Beijing Olympic Singles Gold

We don't find many people defending their Olympic Badminton titles. "Smashing" Zhang Ning, now 33 years of age, defended her Olympic Singles title as she managed to beat current world no.1 and fellow Chinese star Xie Xingfang 21-12 10-21 and 21-18.


Zhang Ning in action against Xie Xingfang (Photo credit: Lars Baron/Getty Images)





Xie Xingfang in action against Zhang Ning (Photo credit: Lars Baron/Getty Images)



Zhang Ning celebrates her victory. (Photo credit: Lars Baron/Getty Images)




Zhang Ning poses with her gold medal. (Photo credit: Lars Baron/Getty Images)

It was Zhang's final Olympic appearance and she produced a remarkable game to overcome her younger competitor. Zhang looked tired after losing the second set; however she showed some great mental strength to maintain her focus in the game and to produce some great badminton display throughout the game. It was one of those days where both players were fighting each other, point for point and in the final set and the game could have gone either way. In the final few points of the game, we could see Zhang's tiredness showing but her determination to win was stronger than Xingfang as she maintained her composure and continued to play more aggressively with attacking lobs, chops, smashes and sharp net plays which lead to her crowing of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Badminton Women's Singles Champion.



"After Athens I didn't think about participating in Beijing," said second seed Zhang following her victory.


"I'm 33 years old and I made it to the finals - I believe it was tenacity that got me this gold medal." said Zhang. Personally I admire people like her as role models to the sport. She has great sportsmanship and a humble personality. She reminds me of Andre Agassi who proved that with determination and the right mind, age is just a number.

Credit to Xie Xingfang too for producing a fine display of badminton throughout the tournament. It is Xingfangs first ever Olympics and I'm not too sure if she will still be playing in the next Olympics in London. In an earlier interview Xingfang has said that she wants to retire from badminton one day to live a normal life, "cooking soup" for Lin Dan when get gets back. :) however I'm not too sure when.


China missed a clean sweep of the women's singles medals when Indonesia's Maria Kristin Yulianti took bronze. Congrats to Maria for the bronze! She had a great tournament with a great run; upsetting the many seeded players who came in her way.

Womens Singles Gold Medalist: Zhang Ning
Womens Singles Silver Medalist: Xie Xingfang
Womens Singles Bronze Medalist: Maria Kristen


Check out Zhang Ning's road to Beijing here.

Catch Zhangs victory thanks to BBC UK.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Lee Chong Wei smashes into the finals

WEI TO GO - Our young “Skywalker” Lee Chong Wei brings smiles and hopes for all Malaysians as he carries our flag to the finals of the Men’s Singles in the Beijing Badminton Olympic Finals.

He marches on with a smashing win over Lee Hyunil 21-18, 13-21 and 21-13. Lee Chong Wei in on top form with that steady win in the Semi Finals. Overall you can see that Chong Wei has been preparing well for this tournament; you can see it from his fitness (how he is able to take every shot) and the confidence he has to play every stroke that comes to his mind. I think Chong Wei has a better chance of winning the finals compared to Lin Dan as Chong Wei looks to be in a better shape overall. To all those reading this, do post a comment on the finals and how do you think Chong Wei will do.





I’ve found a YouTube clip of Chong Wei’s Beijing Dream for you Badmiton and Chong Wei fans out there.. If you want to see him training, check out my earlier post




No matter what happens, Chong Wei is bagging RM 300,000.00 from the government for a Silver and RM 1,000,000.00 for the Gold. That’s a lot of money and it would be a motivation for Chong Wei to win. However I know that Chong Wei wants to create Malaysian History as the first Malaysian Gold Medalist and the money reward is just a bonus to winning. I just hope he manages to take the pressure mentally and overcome the Chinese supporters in the finals!

C ya in the finals!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Badminton’s billionaire fan

This is quite suprising to me that this man knows and watches badminton? Have a read!

By the Associated Press
Posted Monday, August 11, 2008 1:27 PM ET

Getty Images
Bill Gates enjoying badminton and a badminton fan

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates took in a little badminton on Monday. Gates sat in the VIP seats at Beijing University of Technology Gymnasium with his wife, Melinda, and watched the second round of men’s singles when China’s
Bao Chunlai defeated Guatemala’s Kevin Cordon 21-17, 21-16 in the second round of men’s singles.

“It was great, I was very impressed,” Gates told reporters afterward. Asked if he was a fan of the game, Gates said: “I am now.” During the match Gates wrote in the Badminton World Federation’s signature book: “Badminton is great.”

On Monday the Gates’ also attended the third day of swimming events at the National Aquatics Center on Monday, where they sat directly behind President George W. Bush. The President was there with his wife Laura, daughter Barbara and entourage of Secret Service agents posing as fans.

Sitting directly in front of the Bush family was Mitt Romney and his wife Ann. Before serving as Governor of Massachusetts , Romney ran the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.

Bao Chunlai and Gail EMMS / Nathan ROBERTSON journey in Beijing ends..

Being the 3rd seed in the Men's Singles, I expected Chunlai to take on Chong Wei in the Semi's. This will not happen as Bao Chunlai lost in the quarters to Lee Hyunil of Korea 23-21 and 21-11. Looks like there would only be 1 Chinese player who will make it to the Men's singles finals as Lee Hyunil will take on Lee Chong Wei in the other Semi's. Bao Chunlai again fails to impress me as his style of play seems to be very safe game play and it is less aggressive compared to Lin Dan and Chong Wei game play. I think with Chunlai out of the scene now, Chong Wei will have a easy passage to the Finals..



In the Mix Doubles, Great Britain’s hopes for a Gold vanished when Gail Emms and Nathan Robertson lost 21-19 21-12 to Lee Hyojung and Lee Yongdae of Korea in the quarters. Looks like the Koreans are going on strong this competitions with a couple of semifinals entries. The funny bit is that we have 4 Lee's in the Semis :) Lee Chong Wei, Lee Hyunil, Lee Hyojung and Lee Yongdae (Are they family or something??).

The semis will be an exciting one for sure. Do catch the semis via my links to live badminton streaming.

Adios dudes and dudettes!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Malaysia’s Olympic Success Depends on Lee “Skywalker” Chong Wei

Looks like all our hopes for Malaysia's 1st Gold Medal lays in the hands of our beloved Lee Chong Wei. Can this dude from Penang rise up to the occasion to prove to the world that he's the "Luke Skywalker" who brings a new beginning and glory to Malaysia's badminton?

Well I see a ray of light through our Malaysian Skywalker as he makes it to the Semi's after defeating Sony Dwi Kuncoro 21-9 and 21-11. I believe Chong Wei is in great form and confidence looking at his results against Sony. I think he will meet Bao Chun Lai in the Semi's and it will be a difficult game for Chong Wei to overcome. May the force be with him! I believe that playing Chun Lai in the Semi's would be a good warm up for Chong Wei's finals against Lin Dan. His Semi’s game would help him adapt to the Chinese crowd who will be against him during the game. I’m pretty positive that Chon Wei can win Chun Lai. What is important is for Skywalker to remain focused in the final game against Lin Dan and he should not let the crowd and the pressure gets to his head. Playing Lin Dan is never an easy task for any player, it is like playing Federer in a Tennis finals. But saying that, with the new points system, anything can happen; it’s not an easy task but I believe he can do it. If he does that I think young Skywalker will win our first ever Gold Medal and restore glory to the Malaysian Badminton team.

As much as the "force" tells me that there is a strong chance Lee "Skywalker" Chong Wei to win, there are questions running through my head. Why is there only one Malaysian player in the Semi's? Look at China; they have 2 men’s singles, 2 men’s doubles, and 2 women’s singles that have a good chance for the gold. Indonesia too has a good Men's Doubles; Mix Doubles & Women's singles players lined up for medals this Olympics. I think our Sports Minister or BAM should really look at our current system we’re implementing. We can learn a thing or two how China and Indonesia run their badminton programs so that we can learn a thing or two and prepare for the coming Olympics. We should also learn from the international professional football teams or professional tennis players on how they develop and manage talents in their countries. Let’s hope that there would be a re-structure happening soon in BAM to address these matters. On the other hand, do feel free to post comments on how Malaysia should move forward in Badminton..

Don’t forget to catch the
LIVE badminton action here.

May the force be with you!

Taufik goes out with pride..

I did a post on Taufik’s lost to Wong Choon Han recently. Even though he lost the game, I take off my hats to Taufik for being present at the games despite being admitted for Dengue and for giving everything he had against Choon Han. Its not easy for anyone to come back from Dengue and play against top class players; Taufik did just that and it proves that he has matured and he’s truly a professional in the sport… He gave Choon Han a run for his money in the first set however it wasn’t enough to win. He went out with style and gracefully. In my mind I thought that if Taufik were to win the first set, then he would get thru to the next round. Anyhow, I do hope to see Taufik playing more this year and I do hope that he shows us more of his talent in the future tournaments.


To those who missed out on the game, here’s some highlights I managed to get from youtube.. you can also check the Badminton Olympics LIVE here.



Robertson and Emms (Great Britian) battle on

One of my favorite upsets came in day 4 of the tournament. Great Britain’s Badminton Olympic team pulled one of the most unexpected upsets when Gail Emms and Nathan Robertson, pulled off a fantastic comeback and became the first members of Team GB to truly silence a Chinese crowd with a win over number two seeds Gao Ling and Zheng Bo.

I managed to watch the game and I thought Gail Emms and Nathan Robertson played a fantastic attacking game compared to the Chinese who were more defensive. Gail Emms played very aggressively in the front of the net, anticipating her opponent’s shots and countering them with hard driving shots to the Chinese players which created many openings for Nathan Robertson to play his hard smashes.

In mix doubles, it's very important for the lady to cover the front of the net well and to create opportunities for the male partner to attack and. Whoever who does this well normally ends up winning the game. Gail and Nathan did just exactly that, coming from 17-12 down in the final game to surprise the Chinese opponents and snatch a dramatic victory to enter the quarter finals.

This must be a shocker to Li Yong Bo as his hopes of 3 gold medals looks faded as the days goes by.
Robertson said: "We were so determined that this was not to be our last game together but at 17-12 down in the third we were just fighting for our lives.
"It so difficult to get a run of points against Chinese pairs but we managed it."
Emms said: "In the first game we just came out and we were blinding. And in the second we weren't doing anything wrong but they just came at us.
"In that third game we just had to keep fighting. You just keep sticking in there. You just don't want to give up."

It takes a lot of mental strength to do what they did.. Keep it up guys! Hope we'll get to see you play in the finals!

Looks like one of my predictions came true :)

If ya wish to catch the action do click below:


Click here to watch the highlights of the game..

Ciao da mao!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Badminton Day 2 & 3 - Wong "CHUN" Han and Maria Kristen does the unexpected

Hey Folks,

Sunday was the second day of the Badminton competition with the early rounds of the Women's singles and doubles. Top-seeded Xie Xingfang and Athens gold medalist ZHANG Ning, won their opening matches in women's singles with little struggle. Not much talk about the Sunday's game.

Let's talk more about today's games in Day 3. Most of the seeded Men's and Women's players entered the courts today. To my surprise, we had 4 upsets today. Firstly one of my predicted finalists in the Women's singles, Tine Rasmussen; she went down to Maria Kristen in three games. Maria once again used her fighting spirit to come back from a game down to win 18-21, 21-19 and 21-14. Looks like we have a new contender in town… Maria will be climbing the ranks faster than I thought.

In another Women's singles match, World No. 15 Saina Nehwal of India beat sixth seed Wang Chen of Hong Kong in the Badminton Women's Singles round of 16. Saina lost the first game 19-21, however came back strong in the second and third to win 21-11, 21-11. I think its Saina’s first ever win over Wang Cheng.

The third upset is more of a shocker as the defending Olympic Women's Doubles Champion China Yang Wei and Zhang Jiewen were upset by unseeded Japan's MAEDA Miyuki and SUETSUNA Satoko 21-8, 21-23 and 14-21. Looks like Yong Bo’s chances of more than 3 Gold’s looks slimmer…

Next, we had the defending Olympic Men's Singles Champion Taufik entering the court in his first match against Wong "CHUN" Choon Han. Taufik, didn't look himself (well I dont think anyone can recover from dengue that fast) in the game while Choon Han looked determined and fully fit to take on Taufik. The opening game was a point to point fight whereby Choon Han came out tops at the end. There were some debatable line calls however, non of the players really made a fuss. Taufik gave his best in the game however it was not enough to stop Choon Han from causing the fourth upset of today.

To me, Choon Han dominated the rallies and he was fighting for every shot (Even made a few dives to save some of Taufik’s smashes – not bad for a 31 year old chap). Taufik however looked weak and we could see that his concentration wasn’t fully focused on the however, he managed to create some good moments in the game with some good trick shots and some good defense. Choon Han however played a more consistent game; hitting some very good net plays and some powerful and played a more aggressive game to win 21-19 and 21-16.
The third upset is more of a shocker as the defending Olympic Women's Doubles Champion China Yang Wei and Zhang Jiewen were upset by unseeded Japan's MAEDA Miyuki and SUETSUNA Satoko 21-8, 21-23 and 14-21.

Besides all the upsets, the favourites managed to cruise thru to the last 16 with ease. I've selected the top pix from day 3... I'll let these pix tell you the story.. Images are from Getty Images, for more of these fantastic images visit gettyimages.com.


(Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

(Photo by INDRANIL MUKHERJEE/AFP/Getty Images)


(Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)


(Photo by INDRANIL MUKHERJEE/AFP/Getty Images)


(Photo by: INDRANIL MUKHERJEE/AFP/Getty Images)


(Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)


(Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

In my opinion, you should expect more upsets to come in day 4.. Till then do come back to my blog for more updates...

Ciao da mao..

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Olympic Journey with Zhang Ning

Hey fellow Shuttle freaks.. How's it going? Hope all you guys are having a smahing weekend and you all had the chance to watch the best opening ceremony in an Olympic Games yesterday.

I was surfing you tube for some badminton videos and I found this video of Zhang Ning's preparations for the Beijing Olympics. She amazes me as a player and as a person. At 33 she's still playing the game she loves and she is still giving more than 100% in hopes to defend her title she won 4 years ago. To do so, it takes a lot of hard work in training to be in the competitive condition.

This video is amazing as it shows you the insights of a Chinese badminton player... It also shows you how Zhang Ning started her career in badminton and what badminton means to her. The video also gives you an insight of player preparations before her game and her life besides badminton. You can also see a clip of Zhang Ning playing a game with Mew Choo (M'sia) and during the 11 point break, you can hear what Li Yong Bo's advice to her was. I always thought Yong Bo was the kind of coach who would use forceful words to motivate you but this video shows otherwise.

In Badminton you start playing at a young age which is before 11 years old.. by 12-13 years old you normally start dedicating more time training and you’re playing district and small club competitions. By 18 – 21 you would already know if you have the chance to represent your country and if you are a world contender. Not everyone make it thru to this stage. When you start playing for your country, you will want to be No. 1 and it takes a even harder job to become No. 1. At the end of the day, not everyone can achieve what Zhang Ning has and this video shows your what exactly it takes to be No. 1.. This video is great stuff and I'm sure you'll enjoy it...











Ciao da mao!

Badminton Day 1 - Maria Kirsten advances

Maria Kristen Yulianti of Indonesia kept the Indonesian hopes alive in the Women's Singles competition as she fought hard in her opening round againts Juliane Schenk of Germany.


Image source: Nbcolympic.com (Getty Images)

Maria lost the first set but managed to pull herself together to win 18-21, 21-13, 22-20. It's never easy for a person to play their first round first olympics and especially when you are down the first set, it's never easy to come back. Well done to Maria who remained mentally focused to stay and win the game. Maria reminds me so much of Susi Susanti; She has similar styles of stroke play, footwork and movement around the court. However Susi was at her peak when she won the 1992 Olympics. I'll give Maria a couple of years to grow and I'll bet she'll be challenging the Chinese women's players for the singles tittles.

Here are some other first round matches:

Women's Singles:
Eriko Hirose of Japan defeated Iceland's Ragna Bjorg Ingolfsdottir 21-6, 19-7 (retired).
Larysa Gryga of Ukraine defeated Italy's Agnese Allegrini 21-15, 21-11.


Men's Singles:
Przemyslaw Wacha of Poland defeated Estonia's Raul Must 21-14, 21-15.

Marc Zwiebler of Germany defeated Ireland's Scott Evans 21-18, 18-21, 21-19.

Stay tuned for more updates to come..

Friday, August 8, 2008

Overall Badminton Olympic Medal Tally

I found some interesting statistics on the overall Badminton Olympic medal tally since1992. It was no surprise to me that China was leading the pack followed by our neighbor Indonesia. What surprised me most is South Korea and Denmark who are ahead of Malaysia in the overall standings. What's so surprising to me is that Malaysia, who spends loads of $$$ and effort on development/building/maintaining the team are ranked 5th in the overall medal tally. South Korea and Demark on the other hand, has a smaller base and badminton following compared to Malaysia has a more balanced (Men’s and Women’s) team. Malaysia on the other hand depends too much on its Men's team to deliver the goods compared to the other nations

In the Men's medal tally, Indonesia leads the pack with the likes of Alan Budi Kasuma & Taufik Hidayat among the gold medalist... South Korea has been doing fairly well in the past collecting the second highest medals followed by China who are 3rd overall.

Most of China's overall medals came from their Women's team. They lead the Women's Badminton Olympic tally with 5 gold, 3 silver, 7 bronze followed by South Korea and Indonesia.

I predict China will climb to 2nd spot in the Men's medal tally while their Women's team will continue to dominate and lead the pack.



Ciao da mao

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Anticipation, Predictions and Forecast

Anticipation, Predictions and Forecast: The 3 important key elements I've learnt from a former great player who I had the honor to learn from when I was 15 years old.

During one of our regular training (normally on a Monday, Wednesday or Friday) sessions at the Selangor Badminton Hall (SBA), a 50+ year old man came by to pay my coach CIKU a visit and to have a have a workout while he was at it. We were doing our regular drills and sparring before we played a game or two.

After our drills and sparring session, our coach requested us to play a doubles game with this 50+ year old man. My partner Gnana Easwaran and myself went straight into the court to play the game and in our minds, we thought it was going to be an easy game. During the game we found it amusing that we had to struggle at the start of the game. This 50+ year old man was actually giving us difficult game... He took all our shots and he returned the shots to difficult places to retrieve. We had a good game and even though we won, this 50+ year old player thought us these 3 words as per the topic says. After the game he taught us the key to playing against us was to anticipate, predict and forecast our next shots.

We anticipated and moved to the spots the opponents would hit as they hit the shot; we predicted the shots they would use and we always did a forecast of our next opponents. It’s like a guessing game of poker too which is why I feel badminton is a complete sport. The advice he gave us helped us change our game which led us to win the Under 15 MSSD & MSSS (the state and district) doubles titles. At that year I partnered Chan Chong Ming at the MSSM (Malaysian Schools Meet) and surprisingly we won the MSSM too.

You must be wondering who this player is as much as I wondered when we played against him. This veteran player is Tan Aik Huang (picture on the right; source bbc.co.uk) the former Malaysia great who won the All England in 1966 and many other tournaments during his peak.

With the long and winding intro to the story, it brings me to who do you think will reach the Men's Singles, Men's Doubles, Women's Singles, Women's Doubles & Mix Doubles Finals? My predictions are as follows what are yours? Would be great to see how many of these 10 predictions are spot on! :)

SmashingMark's Predictions

Men's Singles: Lin Dan (Chi) vs Lee Chong Wei (M'sia)

Men's Doubles: Koo Kien Keat, Tan Boon Heong (M'sia) vs Fu Haifeng, Cai Yun (Chi)

Women's Singles: Xie Xingfang (Chi) vs Rasmussen Tine (Dmk)

Women's Doubles: Yang Wei, Zhang Jiewen (Chi) vs Du Jing, Yu Yang (Chi)

Mix Doubles: Widianto Nova, Natsir Liliyana (Ind) vs Robertson Nathan, Emms Gail (Eng)

As you can see, I've predicted that there will be a Chinese player in all finals except the Mix Doubles. From a newspaper I read today which Li Yongbo has said that (the head coach of China), if China doesn't win 3 gold’s out of the 5 means they have failed. I bet that helps ease the pressure to the players and adds more egos to his name. I do hope to see the rest of the world give China a run in all badminton events and I’ll be so looking forward to see Yongbo's face when they don't win 3 gold medals. After all, they are the favorites and they have the home crowd behind them, but in the new 21 points system, anything can happen.

Do share with me your predictions...

Ciao da mao!