Japan dethrone China for 1st time in two decades in women’s badminton

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Jakarta, Aug 22 (IANS) China failed to snatch its sixth consecutive gold medal in women’s badminton team event after losing to top-seeded Japan 1-3 in the 18th Asian Games final here on Wednesday.

Top singles player Chen Yufei propelled China to a leading position through her 21-15, 21-12 victory over Yamaguchi Akane, reports Xinhua news agency.

Yufei took charge from the start with her high-quality smashes to build a 4-0 lead, and from an 11-all draw at the changeover, she pulled away the game. The proceedings became easier for Chen in the second game, as she stood firm to earn China a morale-boosting opening victory.

In response, Japan’s Fukushima Yuki and Hirota Sayaka marched past Chen Qingchen and Jia Yifan 21-12, 21-17.

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The second singles match had greater importance. He Bingjiao of China lost 16-21, 21-19, 15-21 to Japanese Okuhara Nozomi. Bingjiao survived an injury scare in defending a stroke during the second game. She returned to court after a medical check, and went on to savour the victory of 21-19.

In their debut at the tournament, Huang Dongping and Zheng Yu lost to Olympic champions Matsutomo Misaki and Takahashi Ayaka 21-16, 21-11 as Japan clinched the final 3-1.

Hosts Indonesia and Thailand bagged the bronze medals.

–IANS

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