Monday, March 9, 2009

China sweep at the All England Badminton creates jealously among rivals

By China Watcher

When China won all five titles at the All-England championship on Sunday, 8 March 2009, it provoked further criticism from the rivals.

Last year, some of the other team managers were noted not to be too happy when China skipped the Grand Prix finals, a finale for top players around the world, and said that the Chinese team had no respect for the Badminton World Federation (BWF) for opting out of the Super Finals.

There was already unhappiness among certain rival countries over China who had the pleasure to practice “walkover” in certain China versus China matches to rest their players for more crucial and tough encounters. Yesterday, a Malaysian singles coach called for the BWF to tackle this issue and warned that if not, the sports may be dropped from the Olympics in the future.

Some of the overzealous sports reporters from the mainstream media in Malaysia formulated opinions which bordered more on their own insensible and unreasonable analysis rather than viewing the constraints and realistic chances the Malaysian players faced in international meets. Perhaps, the Malaysian players were gradually winning matches and moving up the BWF's rankings. Yesterday, China’s low ranking players proved how misguided the rankings are by winning all the coveted titles at the prestigious All England. Rankings are merely a guide and should not be the main yardstick to pick the best players of the world. Lin Dan, the Chinese number one men singles players put it appropriately, “I could not care whether I am number 1 or not, winning important titles are more satisfying”.

First, the dominance of the sports event by China indicates that the Chinese was able to cope with the changes in the development of badminton as a fast reflex game (too fast for the mind to react) and an attacking game with as little errors as possible. Mental strength to handle pressure at crucial winning points is equally important than the technical and strategic knowledge of the game. Except for the Koreans, Malaysian, Indonesian and maybe the Danish the rest of the countries are still very far off in terms of the standard of play when you benchmarked against China.

Second, the Chinese realistically has greater depth than the rest of the countries, that is, it has a large pool of talents to pick from. The second batch of young Chinese women players are now slowly finding its winning path in international tournaments and this do not bode well for the rival countries. The Chinese women have been dominating the women scene in this sports event for the last decade.

Third, the physical training the Chinese players have to undergo are many times more strenuous than what have been adopted by other badminton nations. Just take a look at how the Chinese divers, the paddlers and gymnasts trained when they have been selected at a very young age and you would have a better a picture of the type of training at its badminton halls.

Fourth, the dominance of the sports by China is no fault of them, the rest of the countries just fail to keep up given their lack of resources and the quality of their players. The BWF has made numerous changes to the draw by allowing seeded players of the same countries to compete among themselves at the preliminary rounds, thus opening the path for certain unseeded players of other countries to advance as far as the semi-finals. Imagine if the BWF adopted rules that seeded players do not meet in the early stages, the possibility of an all Chinese players at the semi-finals and finals is even higher. Now, the armada of Chinese players of about 7-8 players in the single event especially in the women category are already a fearsome lot with the current ruling.

Fifth, when the Chinese “throw away “matches that other countries deemed as “match-fixing”, it invited the warily eyes of other countries teams but when the Koreans do the same thing, nobody bothers. Why? Again, it is the dominance of this sports by China and the jealously of the other team managers and coaches which are really the main reasons behind the complaints.

My advice, be more mature and raise your own badminton standards before you criticize the winning team.

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