Defending champion Lin Dan and third-seeded Peter Gade had easy victories yesterday to advance to the second round of the badminton world championships.
Lin, seeking to become the first player to win three straight titles, defeated Misha Zilberman of Israel 21-9, 21-11, while Danish player Gade had a 21-11, 21-16 victory over Ukraine’s Valerly Atrashchekov.
The tournament began under tight security after England’s decision on Sunday to withdraw because of security concerns.
Lin, winner of the singles title at the 2006 and 2007 World championships and the 2008 Olympics, is seeded fifth because of his low ranking after missing several Super Series events.
Lin is regarded by many as favorite for the title but has tried to deflect the attention.
“I don’t consider myself as a favorite for the title. I think Gade and top seed Lee Chong Wei are the favorites,” he said.
Gade, 32, the losing finalist in the 2001 world championships, said he felt comfortable throughout his match, even though his opponent played a brisk game.
Gade is expected to meet Lin in the quarter-finals.
Dutch player Dicky Palyama scored the first upset of the tournament by ousting 11th-seeded Bao Chun Lai of China 21-18, 21-14 in the opening round.
Sixth-seeded Sony Dwi Kuncoro of Indonesia advanced to the second round with a 21-13, 21-9 victory over Austria’s Michael Lahnsteiner.
Women’s No. 14 Wong Mew Choo of Malaysia took just 19 minutes to defeat American Shannon Pohl 21-4, 21-6.
England badminton officials and players blamed what they said were inadequate security measures for their decision to pull out of the championships.
Badminton England chief executive Adrian Christy told a media conference yesterday the team was not given “appropriate levels of security” for the tournament.
Security concerns over sports events in South Asia have been heightened since the attack on the Sri Lanka cricket team in Lahore, Pakistan, that killed six policemen and a driver in March.
“It wasn’t a safe place for staff or players,” Robertson said at the media conference at Milton Keynes, England. “We were on back roads with no armed guards or anything — just a bus driver. It doesn’t matter to me where it is in the world, we weren’t safe in that situation. It wasn’t a difficult decision in my mind.”
England flew home from Hyderabad on Sunday, a day before the tournament started, because of a terrorist threat from a Pakistan-based Islamic militant group.
Indian police have denied there was a threat but team manager Andy Wood said that security was so lax that members of the public could easily walk into the players’ hotel unchallenged.
“I don’t think we have overreacted,” Christy said. “We were very clear of our expectation of security before the event. We went to Hyderabad with every intention of being met with appropriate levels of security. We were not particularly impressed with the level of security we were met with on arrival and subsequent days.”
Christy also expressed his unhappiness with comments from Badminton Scotland chief executive Anne Smillie, who said that England had overreacted.
England performance director Ian Ross said other teams were concerned with security and got in touch with their embassies for advice on whether to stay.
“This is unfortunate and an overreaction,” Indian home secretary G.K. Pillai said on Sunday. “The security arrangements in Hyderabad are good and the government of India is committed to ensure the complete security of all competitors and the championship.”
In March, two of England’s top badminton players withdrew from the India Open in Hyderabad citing security concerns.
Chen Jifang hits the gym for at least two hours every day and has the physique to prove it. At nearly 70, she is being held up as a shining example as China orders its vast population to get fit and lose the bulge. The grandmother from Shanghai has become a minor celebrity in in the past few months after her newfound and unlikely love for working out made national headlines. After becoming a gym regular in December 2018, Chen lost 14kg in three months, and now sports the kind of flat stomach and toned muscles that people decades younger aspire to. She
’SO CONSISTENT’: The victory gave the world No. 1 and world No. 2 a 21-1 win-loss record and their fourth title of the season after successes in Brisbane, Dubai and Doha Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Sunday cruised to their fourth women’s doubles title of the season at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome in their first tournament back since the suspension of the WTA Tour due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The top seeds took just 63 minutes to complete a comprehensive 6-2, 6-2 victory over unseeded German-Romanian duo Anna-Lena Friedsam and Raluca Olaru at the Foro Italico. It was the Taiwanese-Czech pairing’s first outing since they won the Qatar Open in February. “After five months, you don’t know what to expect,” Strycova told the WTA Web site.
ANOTHER SCANDAL: Searches focused on several riders, including Dayer Quintana, a source said, while the two being held were reportedly a doctor and physiotherapist French police on Monday detained two people as part of an investigation into suspected doping in the Arkea-Samsic team at this year’s Tour de France, prosecutors announced. The probe is the first significant one in several years for the repeatedly scandal-hit tour, which on Sunday wrapped up in Paris with a victory for 21-year-old Tadej Pogacar, who became the youngest winner in more than a century. Prosecutor Dominique Laurens in Marseille said in a statement that an investigation was being carried out into a “small part” of France-based Arkea-Samsic, without specifying who had been placed in custody. Laurens added that the two
Former MLB pitcher Wang Wei-chung has signed the biggest contract with a local team in Taiwan’s professional baseball history, the Wei Chuan Dragons said yesterday. The 28-year-old left-hander signed a five-year US$2.08 million contract with the Dragons, team chairman Hsu Wen-fang told a news conference. It is the biggest contract in the CPBL’s 31-year history, surpassing a three-year, US$1.36 million deal Lin Chih-sheng signed in 2016 with the CTBC Brothers. Although the overall value of Wang’s deal set a new record, his average monthly salary of NT$990,000 (US$33,886) is lower than Lin’s pay of NT$1.2 million per month in 2017