Home2023China and Thailand on the Hot Seats

China and Thailand on the Hot Seats

The quarterfinals of the BNI Badminton Asia Junior Championships 2023 come with the excitement of finals. The mixed team draw placed Japan, winner of Group B, to immediately face China, runner-up of Group A, in the quarterfinals that will be held at Among Rogo Sports Hall, Yogyakarta, Indonesia, on Monday (10/7/2023).

 

The competition is expected to be fierce. China surely wants to become the Badminton Asia Junior Championships winner again after only reaching the semifinals in 2019 where they lost against Thailand 1-3 in their homeland, Suzhou. The defeat in 2019 broke China’s streak of victories in the Badminton Asia Junior Championships that started from 2013. Previously, in 2012, Japan defeated China in the finals that was held in Incheon, Korea. It was only in Badminton Asia Junior Championships 2018 held in Jakarta, Indonesia, when China finally managed to avenge for their loss in 2012 by defeating Japan 3-0. 

 

China’s loss to Indonesia 1-4 in the group stage might have given the Japanese team a preview of their power mapping. In the group stage match between Indonesia and China, Hu Zhen An, ranked fifth in the junior world, lost to Alwi Farhan, who was only ranked 14th. China's only score against Indonesia came from Xu Wenjing's women's singles, world's 29th, who won over Mutiara Ayu Puspitasari, ranked 15th in the world. Meanwhile, in three other events, men's doubles, women's doubles and mixed doubles, the Chinese representatives didn’t succeed.

 

In the other quarterfinals, a steep road is ahead of Thailand as they will face Malaysia, the first seed. Thailand qualified for the quarter-finals after defeating the United Arab Emirates in their final Group D match. The defending champion has to settle as the runner-up in the group because in the first match they were defeated by Korea with a landslide score of 0-5. 

 

When they won the Badminton Asia Junior Championships 2019, Thailand was still reinforced by Kunlavut Vitidsarn, whom at that time also won the individual men's singles event. The presence of the badminton player who is now ranked fourth in the world in the senior category at that time guaranteed a very influential number in boosting the enthusiasm of his colleagues. The Thai men's singles rely on Wongsup Wongsup-in, ranked 13th in the world, who lost to Park Sung-ju, ranked 60th in the world, when facing Korea. In the quarterfinals against Malaysia, it is likely that Wongsup Wongsup-in will play and might face a tougher opponent, Eugene Ewe, ranked fifth in the world.

 

However, in the women's singles, Thailand is favored to win. Two women's singles are currently occupying the top positions in the world junior rankings. There are Pitchamon Opatniput, who is ranked 2nd, and Sirada Roongboonsopit, ranked 4th. Meanwhile, Malaysia relies on Ong Xin Ye who is ranked 28th. In the other three events, men's doubles, women's doubles and mixed doubles, the coaches of each country plays a big role in putting together he right composition of the players and team that will determine their results in the BNI Badminton Asia Junior Championships 2023. 

 

Being the host, the Indonesian team is expected to advance beyond the quarterfinals. On paper, Indonesia has the upper hand over their quarterfinals opponent India. Indonesia’s victory over China 4-1 in the final match of Group A qualifying is a boost to be able to beat India.

 

The semifinals themselves will be held on the same day in the afternoon. Player recovery also plays a big role in the fitness of players whose countries qualify. 

 

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