Asia C'ships: China reinstate domination ahead of Paris Olympics, reaching all five finals

Chinese shuttlers attained complete domination at the Badminton Asia Championships in Ningbo, with a little over 100 days left for the Paris Olympics.

Update: 2024-04-13 16:05 GMT

Chinese players reached all five finals of the Badminton Asia Championships on April 13, 2023. 

Chinese shuttlers attained complete domination at the Badminton Asia Championships in Ningbo. They reached the summit clash of all five events on Saturday, including a complete clean sweep in the women's singles category. 

China are undoubtedly the powerhouse of badminton and have a rich history, including several Olympic and world champions. But in the past one and a half years, their dominance had faded as players from other countries made a rapid rise in the sport.

The last edition of the Badminton Asia Championships was not really exciting for China as they managed only four medals from the tournament and just one gold.

They didn't have a very good outing even at the World Championships in 2023 either. But the resurgence of the Chinese players before the much-awaited Paris Olympics has forced the badminton world to rechristen their thinking about the Chinese juggernaut. 

Dominance in women singles

China's one of the most dominating categories is women's singles where they always had three to four players in the top ten of the world rankings. Reigning Olympic champion, Chen Yufei is one of the most consistent players in the world this year.

China currently have four players in the top 10 of the world rankings and all four of those players reached at least the semifinals at the Badminton Asia Championships. With Wang Zhi Yi and Chen Yu Fei reaching the final after beating their Chinese opponents, China are assured of the women's singles gold medal. 

He Bing Jiao, who was beaten by Wang Zhi Yi in the semifinal on Saturday, stunned the world no.1, An Se Young of South Korea in the quarterfinals. He Bing beating the most consistent player of the era, Young, was one of the biggest shockers of the tournament. This win was extra special for her as it was her first victory over Young in their eight meetings. 

Han Yue, who had been fighting for a Paris Olympics spot with Bing Jiao, had a terrific tournament and registered her first-ever victories over India's PV Sindhu and Japan's Akane Yamaguchi, the two-time World Championships gold medallist. Although Han missed out on her chances of securing a Paris Olympics quota place, she showed immense skills throughout the tournament.

Shi Feng is back in form

The world no.2, Shi Yuqi has been a consistent force this year, making it to the five semifinals out of six tournaments he played including two titles at India Open and French Open. He is also trying to chase down the dominating force of the men's singles category, Viktor Axelsen of Denmark.

Shi made a comeback to the circuit two years back after a ban from the Chinese federation. He hasn't looked back since then and continuously surging upwards in the rankings. Although his campaign at the Asia Championships ended in the semifinal, China will back him for the Olympic title in Paris, living up to the legacy of Chen Long and the legend Lin Dan. 

China will also be happy to see Li Shi Feng, who had been going through poor form, back in form. Shi Feng reached the men's singles final winning a three-game semifinal against Kodai Naraoka of Japan.

This will surely help him regain his lost confidence before Paris 2024. He is now in contention for the gold medal as he faces Jonatan Christie of Indonesia, who beat Shi in the other semifinals. 

Extreme depth in doubles

The doubles department especially the women's doubles and the mixed doubles have been simply been China's best bet over the years. At the Badminton Asia Championships, three Chinese pairings each in women's and mixed doubles confirmed the medals for the country. 

The world no.1, Chen Qing Chen and Jia Yifan, facing tough competition, lost to Zhang Shu Xian-Zheng Yu in the semifinal. World no. 7 Zhang and Zheng will vie for the gold medal now. 

Similarly, the unbeaten duo of Zheng Si Wei and Huang Ya Qiang in mixed doubles has seen great competition from their own teammates Jiang-Wei over the last year while Olympic champion Huang DP with her new partner Feng YZ has been in an on-off mode this season. The duo will fight for the gold medal on Sunday. 

The men's doubles discipline is currently the most competitive in the world with seven to eight top pairings challenging each regularly. China's top doubles pairing of Liang Wei Keng and Wang Cheng has also gone through an inconsistent phase this season. But at the Badminton Asia Championships, they reached the final. 

Paris hopes

China completed their 16 possible quota places in badminton for the 2024 Paris Olympics and now they are ready for yet another dominating finish at the Badminton Asia Championships. China had a very good outing at the Paris Olympics in 2021 when they made it to the final of all five categories.

However, they missed out on the title in three of those finals. Hence, this time around, they would try to better their performance. Chen Yufei will be eyeing to defend her title in the women's singles category, while Liu-Tan will fight for the gold with defending champions Chen-Jia.

In men's singles, Shi Yuqi and Li Shi Feng will be eyeing to take back their country's flag to the top of the podium after failing to secure the yellow metal in the last edition. In contrast, the most open category of badminton at the moment - men's doubles - could pull off a big surprise at the Paris Olympics, with Liang and Wang leading the Chinese challenge. 


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