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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Danish Open Analysis

Finally over my Olympic disappointment. Happy to say that The Badminton Blog will now continue its coverage of all tournaments around the world!

Okay, maybe not all around the world.

Anyway, the Danish Open is upon us! Oh my. I remember blogging about the Danish Open last year. Who could forget the excitement of the Malaysian number 1 WD pair Wong Pei Tty and Chin Eei Hui defeat the World Number 1s? Oh wait. That was the Frech Open. My bad.

This year's Danish Open will be less exciting, due to the fact that we don't have an Olympic Games and Thomas Cup in the horizon. Nevertheless, it'll be interesting to watch for a few reasons. Can Koo Kien Keat and Tan Boon Heong continue their run from Macau? Can they prove that they are once again, a force to be reckoned with? They certainly have caused the Malaysians lots of grief, many blaming them for Malaysia's 3-2 defeat to China in the Thomas Cup and their underperformance in the Olympic Games. (Me, I blame them for losing my PAWs in both the Thomas Cup and the Olympics :-) )

What about the split super pairing of Fu Haifeng and Cai Yun? I'll certainly look back at that pairing with a bit of nostalgia. Now they both appear to have taken over as the senior player in their respective pairings, Fu being paired with Shen Ye and Cai being paired with Chen Xu. Fu Haifeng must be crying no fair how Cai and Shen Ye have been seeded 6th while his pair remains unseeded. Nevertheless, both pairs are to be treated with the utmost caution.

On the other hand, is the era of the Sony here? No, not the Japanese brand. The player, Sony Dwi Kuncoro. He defeated Chong Wei enroute to winning the Japan Open title, while defeating Chen Jin in the China Open finals. Two back to back Super series victories. No mean feat!

Then we have the Chinese women singles players. Can they regain their strength and dominance after the departure of Zhang Ning and Xie Xingfang? It now falls onto the shoulders of Lu Lan, Zhu Lin, Wang Yihan and Wang Lin. On the other hand, we have Maria Kristin Yulianti who appears to be emerging as the new Susi.

In the men single's department, we have the two Danish homecrowd favorites Peter Gade and Kenneth Jonassen, who are both by no means young. It appears that both the world number 1 and number 2, Chong Wei and Lin Dan have opted out of this tournament. We also have super veteran Wong Choong Hann, now outside the BAM, playing. Can he overcome the dissapointment of losing to the unheralded Hsieh Yu Hsin of Taiwan in Beijing?

This Denmark Open will certainly be an interesting barometer to gauge the landscape of the future badminton scene!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Barisan Nasional’s silver medal - Letter to the Malaysiakini editor

The following article has also been sent to Malaysiakini as a letter to the editor.

As a Malaysian, I avidly followed the path of our shuttler Lee Chong Wei in the ongoing 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, making sure that I watched him play whenever I possible could. I personally cheered in delight and began celebrating with my housemates when Chong Wei beat Korean shuttler Hyun Il in the semifinals and assured Malaysia of a medal for the first time in 12 years. I had never felt prouder in my life when the Malaysian flag was raised in the presentation ceremony as I wiped tears of pride and joy. But my tears of pride and joy quickly turned into feelings of extreme anger, disappointment, and disgust when I not only saw Chong Wei, but Malaysia’s medal paraded and flashed around a Barisan Nasional function in an election campaign, manipulated and exploited for votes. This ultimately begs the question: Who does the medal belong to? Malaysia… or Barisan Nasional?

For those who do not know which function I am referring to, I direct you to Malaysiakini’s video entitled ‘Arif Eyes a Slim Win’. Here we see a Malaysian sportsman campaigning for Barisan Nasional as he not only attends the function in support of a candidate, but plays an exhibition match with him in public. However, this is hardly a new occurrence. In badminton alone, we have seen Malaysian shuttlers Tan Boon Heong and Koo Kien Keat campaign in previous by-elections last year, exploiting their fame when they won the All England title, while Chong Wei himself went to campaign in Gopeng in the March General Elections.

Malaysian sportspeople should serve Malaysia first and foremost, and should only focus on serving their country in the sporting arena to bring glory to their nation. It is the rakyat who pays and supports them in their training and development as a player. Hence, their first and only duty, should be to Malaysia. But to Chong Wei I ask this question: Is your first and only duty, to Malaysia, or to Barisan Nasional? This… is the RM300,000 question. Sportspeople should not misuse their fame which they acquired through the sponsorship and support of the rakyat for political reasons. Their duty is to the country, not Barisan Nasional! On the other hand, I am absolutely disgusted by how Barisan Nasional exploited the fame of Malaysia’s sportspeople for their own, selfish political reasons. Do you know no shame?

While the use of Chong Wei for political campaign is in itself a big misuse of the government’s discretion and power, this is not what incensed me the most. What infuriated me the most was when the medal, Malaysia’s medal, was parade and flashed around in a Barisan Nasional function, blatantly politicizing the medal. Of course Chong Wei owns this medal, but this medal also rightfully belongs to every single Malaysian, and it would be fair to say that every single Malaysian owns a part of this medal. But instead, that very medal that brought tears of joy and pride to my eyes, gets taken to a political ceremony, gets paraded and flashed around as political fodder for Barisan Nasional, and for that, I feel ashamed, disgusted, and sadness. Ashamed because what united us, united all Malaysians no matter what creed, religion or color, no matter what political affiliations we had, as we stood together cheering our athlete on, hoping for him, praying for him, is snatched from us and instead, manipulated for the selfish political means of a single political party. What used to be my pure and uninhibited pride and joy is now tainted with the filth of politicking and campaigning, robbing me of any prior pride or joy that I previously felt so strongly after our triumph. Disgusted, because of the extent of which the Barisan Nasional camp is willing to go to win an election. To steal the pride of our nation, manipulating and selling it for votes, that is the biggest crime here. Finally, sadness because of the state my beloved country is in. Sadness, because the medal that once belonged to Malaysia, or so I foolishly thought when the Malaysian flag was hoisted, now belongs to Barisan Nasional. Sadness, because I can no longer feel proud of the medal, because it no longer belongs to me, or my country. Sadness, because I have to tell my overseas friends that Malaysia came back from Beijing empty handed. Sadness, because the line separating politics and sports is now so blurred, that it becomes OK for sporting heroes and sporting achievements to be utilized, to be used, to be manipulated for the selfish political gain of a single political party. For that, I feel the upmost sorrow and grief.

My my… just far down the drain has my beloved nation gone?

Sunday, August 17, 2008


Most recent comment first.

Congratulations to Lin Dan the 2008 Beijing Olympics Gold Medalist.

12 Gold medal points to Lin.


18-6. Lin Dan is playing the best badminton I have ever seen anyone play. Even better than Joko in 1991 All England finals.

16-4. Lin Dan is just too good today.

14-4. Lin pulls closer and closer to that gold.

13-4. Lin leads.

13-3. Lin is too good today.

11-3? Hope perhaps?

11-2. Too little too late?

11-1. I don't think Lee can recover.

8-0. Is it over for the Malaysian?

6-0. Lee looks out of answers.

Lin leads 4-0 in the second game. Uh oh for Lee.

Lin Dan wins first game.

Lin Dan leads 17-10. Chong Wei must be calm and not panick.

Sorry for the slight delay. The score now is 14-8 to Lin Dan

Lin in superb form. 2-0 to China.

And it starts. A very long rally starts the game. 1-0 Lin

Warming up. Games are about to start. Stay tuned.

The players are intoduced and are walking onto court.

Medal ceremony over. We are now waiting for the players to come onto court.

The medal ceremony for the previous Mixed Doubles match is underway.

Cheerleading performance now. We expect the players to come out later.

The head to head records of both these players are 8-5, with Lin Dan having won 8 times. The last match they played was won by Lee at the Thomas Cup semifinals.

We are still waiting for the match to start. It is currently the Mixed Doubles finals. The Men's Singles finals will start when this finishes.