Sun, 21 May 2000

China retains Uber Cup title with leisure

By Primastuti Handayani

KUALA LUMPUR (JP): The 12,000-seat Putra Indoor Stadium, in which only about 500 Chinese spectators were present, witnessed China's domination in the women's team badminton world championship by claiming the Uber Cup trophy for the seventh time after easily toppling Denmark 3-0 Saturday in only one hour and 38 minutes.

The Uber Cup was handed over by Datin Siti Hasmah Mahathir Mohammad, patron of the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM), to Chinese head coach Li Yongbo.

"Our players gave their best performance. Besides Gong, who had to win the first match to ease the path to victory, other shuttlers didn't have to work hard because they weren't under pressure," Li told a post-match conference.

"I believe both Camilla and Gong have the same level of skills. Before the match, I told the players to be prepared should we lose the first game."

With all shuttlers ranked in the top six, China, on the first day of the championship, declared it would take home the trophy.

Danish head coach Kenneth Larsen expressed satisfaction at his team's performance.

"Our two singles performed tremendously. They did a good job. Maybe we'll celebrate a little when we go back to Denmark.

"This achievement is a great one, after all we had to wait 40 years to be in the final."

All three matches went on monotonously, with the Chinese dominating since the very beginning.

World number two Gong Zhichao contributed the first point after exploring all her skills to tame Danish first singles Camilla Martin, world champion and currently world women's number one, 11-9, 11-5 in 40 minutes.

The 26-year-old Martin, who just received the Eddy Choong Player of the Year award on Thursday, tried to play it safe and did not take any risks by smashing to Gong's court. But she was unable to avoid making many unforced errors.

"Gong played much better than me today. She has played really well in some tournaments in the last few months. I'm sorry to my team that I could not win but I did the best I could to defeat her," said Martin, world men's number one Peter Gade Christensen's girlfriend.

"I made many unforced errors, especially in the second game because I was a little bit insecure. I didn't practice enough for the Uber Cup championships as I had to compete in some tournaments," Martin said.

The solid defense of "Chinese wall" of Ge Fei and Gu Jun was too hard to break through for Danish world number five pair Helene Kirkegaard and Rikke Olsen, with China winning 15-2, 15-9, extending the Danish record of 0-13 down to the Chinese.

China's 3-0 lead was contributed by the lefthanded world number three Dai Yun after eliminating Mette Sorensen, world number eight, 11-8, 11-1 in only 20 minutes.


The International Badminton Federation confirmed on Saturday that 1996 Olympic Games silver medalist Mia Audina would be allowed to represent the Netherlands in the Olympics in Sydney in September.

Mia, who moved to the Netherlands last year with husband Tylio Lobman, was granted Dutch citizenships last month after living in Rotterdam for nearly eight months.

Netherlands team manager Martijn van Dooremalen said: "Of course we are delighted that the International Olympics Council (IOC) has made the decision and that Mia will be representing the Netherlands. There were no objections from Indonesia and they should be very proud that Mia will be playing in the Olympics. She's an Indonesian after all."


China bt Denmark 3-0: Gong Zhichao bt Camilla Martin 11-9, 11-5; Ge Fei/Gu Jun bt Helene Kirkegaard/Rikke Olsen 15-2, 15-9; Dai Yun bt Mette Sorensen 11-8, 11-1; Gao Ling/Qin Yiyuan vs Ann-Lou Jorgensen/Mette Schjoldager -- not played; Ye Zhaoying vs Mette Pedersen -- not played