China’s young players stole the show at the Asian Para Badminton Championships 2016, winning gold in eight of the 22 events on home turf in Beijing.
Among the highlights was Li Hongyan, who won the women’s singles WH 1 singles title, defeating 2015 world champion Wang Ping in an all-China affair, as competition concluded 27 November. Li then took another gold with her doubles partner Yang Fan as they overcame Thailand’s reigning world champions Amnouy Wetwithan and Sujirat Pookhum 21-16, 21-14 in the women’s doubles WH 1 – WH 2 finals.
At just age 12, Liu Yliu-yutong was the talk of the tournament which featured 143 players from 11 countries. On her way to the women’s singles WH 2 final, Liu’s consistency and quickness paid off as she defeated Thailand’s 2015 world champion Amnouy Wetwithan in straight games 21-16, 21-11. However, Wetwithan did enjoy success in mixed doubles WH 1 – WH 2, with Jakarin Homhaul, as they defeated South Korea’s Lee Dong Seop and Lee Sun Ae; denying their rivals a match point at 22-23 down and winning the next three points.
Despite that loss, South Korea showed their prowess in the wheelchair classes, winning 11 medals, while reaching four event finals and taking gold in three. Reigning world champion Lee Sam Seop beat compatriot Lee Dong Seop in the men’s singles WH 1. Kim JungJun gave a masterful performance, ousting China’s Mai Jianpeng in the men’s singles WH 2 finale.
The men’s doubles WH 1 – WH finals saw an all-South Korean affair, as Lee Dong Seop and Kim Kyung Hoon prevailed against Lee Sam Seop and Kim Jungjun.
The men’s singles SL 4 final was a one-sided affair as India’s Suhas Lalinakere Yathiraj’s speed was too much for Indonesia’s Hary Susanto. India also secured gold in women’s singles SL 3 thanks to Parul Dalsukhbai Parmar, as well as the men’s singles SL 3 from Manoj Sarkar.
The mixed doubles SL 3 – SU 5 featured one of the closest matches. China’s Ou Wei and Cheng Hefang against Japan’s Suenaga Toshiaki and Akiko Sugino battled to three games, with the Japanese taking the first 21-19 and the Chinese winning the second with the same scoreline. The decider proved a nail-biter with scores tied 20-20 before the Japanese seized two more points to secure their country’s first gold at the Asian Championships.
The women’s singles SL 4 + featured China’s Yang Quixia and Japan’s Ayako Suzuki. The Japanese athlete secured the first game 21-17 but could not match the Chinese in the second or third games, with Yang denying Japan a second gold.
Ukun Rukaendi and Hary Susanto made it two golds for Indonesia, capturing the men’s doubles SL 3 – SL 4 crown (21-14, 21-16) against Malaysia’s Bakri Omar and Muhammad Huzairi Abdul Malek. Indonesia saw more success in the men’s singles SU 5; Suryo Nugroho had a big victory over Malaysia’s world No. 1 Cheah Liek Hou in the semi-finals, then went on to defeat Japan’s Taiyo Imai for the title.
In the SS 6 sport class, Malaysia’s Didin Taresoh kept his winning streak alive in men’s singles. China’s Li Fengmei crushed everyone to rule the women’s singles event, with none of her opponents reaching double figures. China’s Li Fengmei and Luo Guongliang also won mixed doubles SS 6 gold. Hong Kong’s Wong Chun Yim and Mark Dharmai Joseph won the men’s doubles SS 6 event.
The Championships were hosted and organised by the National Paralympic Committee of China and China’s Administration of Sport for Persons with Disabilities (CASPD). The competition was held at the purpose-built CASPD complex which was used for the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games.
Complete results from the Asian Para Badminton Championships 2016 can be found on the Badminton World Federation’s website.