Home2022The Young Blood Party

The Young Blood Party

The Selangor Badminton Asia Team Championships 2022 was wrapped with two countries claiming the trophy for the first time ever: Indonesia winning the Women’s Team trophy and Malaysia winning the Men’s Team trophy.

 

Before the Selangor BATC 2022 began, we all thought it wouldn’t have the same kind of excitement as the previous BATC as this year we didn’t have lineups of star players. What happened was the contrary, we all became spectators to thrilling matches of both the women’s and men’s teams competing against each other. In fact, the excitement began from the start of the tournament.

 

One of the exciting things about a tournament is predicting which player would win a certain match, based on their head-to-head records. However, that is not a thing we could really do during the Selangor BATC 2022, especially during the group stage because there were quite a lot of matches where the competing players’ ranks were so far from each other they didn’t have head-to-head records. It was very easy to expect that when two players with a huge ranks gap, the one with the higher rank would win. Interestingly, we saw a lot of the opposite happen. 

 

Just when the tournament started, we witnessed India’s Sen Lakhsya who is in the top 20 of the BWF World Rankings, got defeated by Jeon Hyeok Jin from Korea who is ranked in the 2,000s at the time of the match. In the next matches, though, Sen Lakhsya was back on his full power and defeated his opponents. 

 

We didn’t know what went on in the young players’ minds before the tournament started. But, it’s possible that Jeon Hyeok Jin’s victory over Sen Lakhsya, set a different tone, not only to Korea’s young squad but to all of the young players listed in the Selangor BATC 2022 because following that victory there were many matches where the lower-ranked players won.

 

However, the world ranking is just one factor. Another significant factor is experience. The seasoned players were ahead with more experiences in competing with players from different levels of skills. The younger players who didn’t have as much possibly felt like they had nothing to lose anyway so they could just go in, gave their best and saw where their best could get them. 

 

The trend went all the way to the semifinals and finals. 

 

At the men’s semifinals, Korea’s Jeon Hyeok Jin who defeated Sen Lakhsya on the first day surprised us once again by stretching Malaysia’s Lee Zii Jia to a rubber set. The match was eventually won by Lee Zii Jia 13-21, 21-13, 21-15. The Korea vs Malaysia semifinal was then followed by Korea’s impromptu pair Kim Hwi Tae/Kim Jaehwan who also stretched the world’s #7 Aaron Chia/Soh Wooi Yik to a rubber set. Chia/Soh eventually won by a thin margin 21-14, 20-22, 21-19.

 

In the women’s team semifinals, unfortunately, Japan had to withdraw due to their players’ health condition so Indonesia had a walkover to the final and left only Korea vs Malaysia in the semifinals. Impromptu women’s doubles pairs such as Korea’s Baek Ha Na/Seong Seung Yeon and Malaysia’s Siow Valeree/Tan Pearly where one player is seasoned while the other is younger showed that the younger player didn’t really have a problem keeping up with their senior’s pace.

 

Finally, in the men’s team finals, we had the defending champion Indonesia vs the host of the BATC 2022, Malaysia. On paper, Malaysia’s squad is stronger. In the first men’s singles, Malaysia’s Lee Zii Jia (ranked #7) lost the first game to Indonesia’s Chico Aura Dwi Wardoyo (ranked #55) 14-21. Zii Jia then turned things around in the second and third games and won 21-12, 21-10. A similar fight happened in the first men’s doubles match between Indonesia’s Leo Rolly Carnando/Daniel Marthin vs Aaron Chia/Soh Wooi Yik. The Indonesian pair who ranked #28 won the first game over the Malaysian pair who ranked #7 21-17 but then got defeated in the last two games 13-21, 18-21.

 

Malaysia eventually won 3-0 over Indonesia. However, the victory didn’t come very easily as how things had been happening since the first day of the Selangor Badminton Asia Team Championships 2022. Indeed, this year’s BATC was different from the previous one as this time we were witnessing the future badminton stars instead of the current ones. With the young players fighting till their last drop, every win earned by the seasoned player is a well-deserved victory. What an exciting young blood party it was.

 

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