Sunday, August 14, 2016
TEXT BY DEV SUKUMAR | BADMINTONPHOTO
Jan O Jorgensen made no mistake in clinching his second match and winning Group G to make the Round of 16 in today’s second session.
The Men’s Singles fifth seed from Denmark ran into resistance from France’s Brice Leverdez in the second game, but his astute defence came to his aid at critical moments and he was able to stonewall everything that Leverdez threw his way. The Dane closed it out 21-11 21-18 to book a pre-quarterfinal appointment with India’s Kidambi Srikanth.
Hong Kong’s Hu Yun had his hands full in his second Group D match, with Spain’s Pablo Abian squeezing every bit of support from the crowd in attempting to ride on the ambience. The Spaniard desperately threw himself around and kept himself in the hunt till the end, when he fell 21-18 21-19. As reward for his troubles, the Group D winner earned a date with China’s Lin Dan.
Two contests in the session were high on emotion. A large crowd had arrived to witness Ygor Coelho de Oliveira take on Germany’s Marc Zwiebler, and although the German veteran was always a step ahead, Oliveira kept the crowd engaged with some good points from time to time. The 21-12 21-12 victory for Zwiebler however could not help him make the knock-out stage, for he had lost his opening match to Ireland’s Scott Evans.
Another emotional contestant was Niluka Karunaratne (featured image), who was one of the three Tripartite Commission Invitation qualifiers. The Sri Lankan’s match against Poland’s Adrian Dziolko was a high-quality affair, with both players throwing everything into it. Karunaratne fended off a couple of game points in the second to take the match 21-19 24-22.
“It has not been easy, last one year was a huge struggle for me,” said Karunaratne. “I’m really happy beat a tough player, and happy to go back with a positive mindset and a positive feeling.
“Of course there was motivation even though I couldn’t make it to the Round of 16. It was a tough group. Winning two matches means a lot for me, it means you are among the top 18 or so players at the Olympics. Playing the Olympics gives you a lot of motivation. It makes you play much better. I’m really thankful to the IOC and BWF for giving Sri Lanka an opportunity to play.
“I thought I could’ve done better against Chen Long (in the first match). I’ve had really hard training. Even the World champion has to start at zero. He came up with different strategies to break my momentum from time to time. It has been a great experience and I’m thankful to be here in Brazil.”
In Women’s Singles, defending champion Li Xuerui, her Chinese compatriot Wang Yihan and Korea’s Bae Yeon Ju won their second group matches without trouble.