Home2021The Rise of the Unseeded

The Rise of the Unseeded


The badminton stage at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics has ended. The event ended with the victory of Viktor Axelsen of Denmark over Chen Long of China in straight games 21-15, 21-12 in the men's singles final at Musashino Forest Sport Plaza, Tokyo, Monday (2/8) night.


Actually, Axelsen was not the main seed, so was Chen Long. The candidate for champion and Olympic gold medalist is the mainstay of the host's men's singles Kento Momota. But who would have thought he would be eliminated first in the group stage; didn’t even make it to the quarterfinals. In Group A, Momota was defeated by South Korean badminton player Heo Kwang-hee in two straight games 15-21, 19-21.


Another surprise in the men's singles was the emergence of a player from a country that did not have a strong badminton tradition, Guatemala. It was Kevin Cordon, who advanced to the semifinals, even though at the end he was finally defeated by Viktor Axelsen in the semifinals and Anthony Sinisuka Ginting from Indonesia in the bronze medal match.


Momota's fall was only one of Japan’s sorrows. In this year’s Olympic Games, they didn’t win any gold medals when they should have had a larger chance given that the Games is in their homeland. It was such a different story from the 2016 Rio Olympics. At that time, Japan was still able to win one gold in the women's doubles category through Misaki Matsutomo/Ayaka Takahashi. 


Based on the draw, in addition to the men's singles through Momota, there is also the women's doubles with Yuki Fukushima/Sayaka Hirota and Mayu Matsutomo/Wakana Nagahara in the third seed. However, both were stopped in the quarter-finals. The women's doubles gold went to Greysia Polii/Apriyani Rahayu, the Indonesian pair who weren’t expected to come out as winners.


Greysia/Apriyani's success also helped save the face of Indonesia. The country initially had high hopes for the men's doubles with its top pairs as the top two seeds: Marcus Fernaldi Gideon/Kevin Sanjaya in first seed and Mohammad Ahsan/Hendra Setiawan in second. Instead of bringing them together in the final, Indonesia didn’t do as well as expected. Kevin/Marcus and Ahsan/Hendra did not win medals for their country.


The men's doubles gold was won by the pair who have been on fire in 2021, and they are Lee Yang/Wang Chi-lin from Chinese Taipei. Amazingly, in Tokyo 2020, they both won against the top two seeds. Marcus/Kevin were defeated in the group stage and Ahsan/Hendra in the semifinals. The climax was in the final, where Lee Yang/Wang Chi-lin defeated China's Li Junhui/Liu Yuchen.


Despite failing in the men's singles, women's doubles, and men's doubles, China should still be proud. The most populous country in the world was able to come out as the overall champion in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics badminton sport, thanks to the two gold medals they won from the women's singles and mixed doubles. In women's singles, China's representative Chen Yu Fei stopped the ambition of Tai Tzu Ying from Chinese Taipei who wanted to give her country a second gold.


China was also great in the mixed doubles. The final round was an all-Chinese Finals which pitted Wang Yilyu/Huang Dongping, who eventually became the champion, with Zheng Siwei/Huang Yaqiong, who was the top seed.


It was an amazing week filled with many surprises from different players in different countries. This year’s Tokyo 2020 Olympics was all about fighting hard against all odds and in this badminton competition, we saw the rise of the unseeded players and underdogs. We are so proud of all of the players for working hard in achieving their dreams of playing on this biggest sporting stage the world has to offer. We cannot wait to see them all again in the next summer Olympic games. 


Tokyo 2021 Gold Winner


Men's Singles: Viktor Axelsen (Denmark)

Women's Singles: Chen Yufei (China)

Men's Doubles: Lee Yang/Wang Chi-lin (Chinese Taipei)

Women's Doubles: Greysia Polii/Apriyani Rahayu (Indonesia)

Mixed Doubles: Wang Yilyu/Huang Dongping (China)



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