Monday, August 26, 2019
TEXT BY GAYLE ALLEYNE | BADMINTONPHOTO
The top seeds completed an outstanding week by sweeping aside Dechapol Puavaranukroh and Sapsiree Taerattanachai, 21-8 21-12, in the title decider that took just 35 minutes. They were one of three repeat winners from last year when they savoured their first world championship on home soil in Nanjing.
As China’s only finalists on a day that saw perennial rivals Japan contesting four events and four nations ultimately claiming gold, the world No.1 pair were determined not to let their country down and gave a master class in front of 9,000 spectators at St. Jakobshalle.
Quickly into their stride, with the powerful Zheng patrolling the back and his partner guarding the front court, the defending champions cut a speedy path to the top of the podium. The two games unfolded similarly, with the gold medallists grabbing an early lead and widening it significantly as the proceedings unfolded. Their opponents – the No.4 seeds who had beaten them earlier this season in Singapore – never got a foothold in the match and were left with the consolation of having become Thailand’s first World Championship finalists.
“We’re very happy of course to win the World Championship again. For the final, we got some useful feedback from our teammates (Wang Yi Lyu/Huang Dong Ping) who lost to the Thai pair in the semi-finals,” said a delighted Huang.
“Overall, we prepared for all kinds of difficult situations because we know our opponents are strong players. We wanted to bring our top form throughout this tournament. A lot of thanks to my partner who played great.”
Equally pleased with their success, Zheng noted that though they won all their matches, except the first one, in straight games and by comfortable margins, repeating as champions was not that easy.
“It was very tough mentally, even if the scores don’t look so. To some degree, it boosted our confidence to beat all the seeded pairs in straight games but during each match we had challenges so we needed to calm down and focus,” he explained.
Meanwhile, the silver medallists conceded they were defeated by the best pair in the business and will have to work harder to attain their Chinese opponents’ standard.
“It was very tough. This pair was stronger and faster than yesterday (the semifinal) and we had to defend a lot,” noted Taerattanachai.
Puavaranukroh added it was a great experience to reach the World Championship final and they will reflect on what they have learnt and return to training to improve their skills.