Venue: Stadium Putra – Bukit Jalil, Kuala Lumpur
Period: August 13 – 19
My excitement over the World Championships this time round was understandable. After all, this would be my first time watching so many seeded players “live” as me and a couple of friends bought tickets for the semis and the finals matches. Prior to this, my first and last “live” badminton tournament was at the Commonwealth Games at Bukit Jalil. But that was totally different. No badminton tournament is complete without the presence of China and Indonesia.
Most memorable moments:
1. Lin Dan in action.
It was pure pleasure watching Lin Dan in action. Although I was rooting for the underdogs i.e. Bao Chunlai and Sony Dwi Kuncoro on both days, nothing could take away Lin Dan’s supremacy in the game.
During the semis, I felt that he was toying with Bao. Twice he dived for Bao’s shots and both times, he made a huge production of sprawling on the ground. But we knew it was faked as his eyes were not even looking at the shuttle. Besides, he stayed so much longer on the ground, posing for the cameras.
He was more serious when playing against Sony since he knew what was at stake. Despite Sony’s comeback in the second set, Lin Dan was clearly in a class of his own. He was simply too fast for Sony. His movements were fast and economical compared to Sony. It’s amazing how fast Lin Dan could get behind a shuttle for seemingly impossible shots and sent it back with careful, precise placements. Many a time Sony was left struggling to keep up with Lin Dan’s shots.
The way I look at it, no player could possibly beat Lin Dan on his good day. As a friend put it, “Lin Dan is the ‘Roger Federer’ of badminton.”
2. Men’s doubles semi final match between Korea and Japan.
Two young doubles players with lots of energy and the single objective to “kill the shuttle” as fast as possible. The game was so fast with smashes upon smashes, drives upon drives. It was a really exhilarating watch. Do not blink or you will miss the next point.
3. Baseline jumping smashes.
Dang! Can these players jump?! The final men’s doubles game between Markis Kido - Hendra Setiawan (Indonesia) and Jung Jae-sung - Lee Yong-dae (Korea) was unforgettable. They might be short but boy! can they jump?! What’s more, they can jump and smash from the baseline! That was what was missing from Choong Tan Fook – Lee Wan Wah’s game. They simply couldn’t jump and kill the shuttle.
4. Random comment from a spectator.
“I was shouting ‘Malaysia Boleh’ the other day and guess what. This Indonesian interrupted me and said, ‘Ya, Malaysia Boleh. Tapi Indonesia Lebih Boleh!’”
Eh, eh … ya tak ya jugak!
Major gripes and disappointments:
1. No live telecast of crucial matches on FTA (free to air)TV.
No live telecast for the quarterfinal matches between Koo Kien Keat - Tan Boon Heong and Shuichi Sakamoto - Shintaro Ikeda (Japan); and between Wong Mew Choo and Xie Xingfang (China). There was no delayed telecast of these matches either nor for the matches between Choong Tan Fook – Lee Wan Wah and Fu Haifeng – Cai Yun (China); and between Lee Chong Wei and Sony Dwi Kuncoro (Indonesia).
For a country that’s crazy over badminton and has world ranking players (although that’s debatable after this tournament), this oversight is unforgivable. Not everyone has Astro you know. Besides, if NTV7 can air the Football Champions Youth Cup Highlights, other FTA could at least show the Proton-BWF World Championships highlights.
Besides, not to be disrespectful, but how many TV stations are needed to air the live telecast of the 50 year Merdeka celebration? We can talk to death about a nation’s unity but if one wants to see unity in action, go to a badminton game and you will see Malaysians of all races rooting for one team, the Malaysian team! Now, that’s true unity!
2. Pea brain tournament organiser.
We paid good money for “what we thought were” great seats for the finals. We expected to watch the matches at centre court but some “smart aleck” decided to hold the matches at the other end of the stadium! Thus, the seats went to waste as we had to go to the higher levels (cheaper tickets with free seating) but closer to the court to watch the matches. Blardy hell! One wonders why the matches can’t be held on the centre court!
3. Selfish mentality of KL drivers.
Haphazard parking on non legitimate parking areas i.e. road shoulders, pavements, etc. whilst legitimate parking were available but located slightly further away. For the life of me, I could not understand the mentality of “supposedly educated” people. When they get behind the wheel, whatever good upbringing and education they received fly out of the window. Most act like “selfish b*****ds”!
4. Dismal performances.
Rexy was right when he slammed our shuttlers for failing to reach the world championship finals. This was our best chance with home ground support. Not only did our players NOT reach the finals, our hopefuls namely Lee Chong Wei and the Koo-Tan partnership did not even reach the semis! To add insult to injury, Lee had the cheek to blame chief coach Yap Kim Hock for his own failure to deliver. What happened to maturity, professionalism and taking blame of one’s own mistakes?
And THAT is my take on the Proton-BWF World Championships. May there be more interesting tournaments in future and hopefully, we (Malaysia) make it to the finals.