Chinese players Trounce Danes20 February, 2018
Though reports from the Far East had told about the tremendous efforts of the People's Republic of China to improve their standard of play in order to gain a position in world class badminton, few experts would probably have expected the Chinese to have achieved this end in so very short time.
True, one had learned that the Chinese team had beaten Indonesian teams on several occasions, but there were no scores available, and no details as to who represented Indonesia in these ties; furthermore it has been a universally accepted theory that a new nation in the badminton world can only hope to progress through continuous contact with more experienced badminton nations.
A brief glance at the scores from the Chinese tour of Denmark will be enough to convince even the most sceptic expert that whether it is possible or not for a nation to teach itself top class badminton within a period of about 10 years, the Chinese have at least done it. The members of the Chinese team played 24 matches against all the best players of Denmark and did not lose a single one, and apart from one ladies' doubles which went to three games, none of the scores were anything like close.
The Chinese were just too Good
After such a crushing and unexpected defeat there will always be attempts at explanations and excuses for the losers, and one fact is important enough to be kept in mind, namely that October is certainly not the month where you will find European top players on the peak of their form, simply because the season has just started and the main international events will not take place until February and March. But when this has been duly mentioned we can only hasten to say that the main reason for these fantastic scores was that the Chinese were simply too good for us and this present the writer considers it highly doubtful that any European singles player will be able to beat them at all.
What sort of game do they play then, seeing that it has brought them so far? Well, when it has been said that they have had no international experience yet, it is not quite true, because it is obvious that they have squeezed every bit of badminton knowledge they could get out of their contacts with Indonesia. To an amazing extent they have been able to adopt the Indonesian style in every detail from the backhand service to the rolling net cord drop shots, and particularly the best Chinese singles players as exact copies of Tan Joe Hock in his best days. Judging from their methods during their stay in Denmark there can be little doubt how this result has been achieved, because even if the Danish players were beaten easily, nearly every stroke they made and every step they took was filmed and written down by the Chinese coaches and players, and diagrams were drawn of the tactics employed in the doubles. After their return to China the officials will no doubt dissect all this material and turn whatever they can find profitable into practical use. This is badminton on a scientific level that we have never witnessed before in Europe.
What Makes Them so Good?
But let us get back to the question of what makes them so good. The strokes adopted from the Indonesians would not do the trick alone because several European players can equal or even surpass them as far as strokes are concerned, but the fantastic speed, both in the movements of their bodies and of their rackets, I have seen produced by the players of no other nation yet. No matter how difficult a shot you have made your Chinese opponent retrieve at the far end of the court, you will find him ready with his racket lifted, to tap your next drop shot almost before it has passed the net.
Besides, they have learned to use jumping with great advantage in most forehand strokes in the background of the court; in this way they meet the shuttle at the earliest possible moment, and their smashes tend to get steeper. Their game differs from that of the great Malaysian singles players by being a constantly attacking one, never leaving the opponent a moment of peace and making a decider as soon as possible instead of relying on his eventual errors after endless rallies.
Powerful Play of Ladies
Deliberately no distinction has been made between the games of the Chinese men and ladies, because with the very powerful type of play of the latter, the difference is often hard to discern. So in mixed doubles (which is by the way their weakest event) they prefer the sides formation to the front and back one favoured by European players; as a result of this they seemed rather unfamiliar with the half-court shots used by our players in that event.
In the Men's and Ladies' doubles, too, the great speed of the Chinese players gives them an advantage, but though also the Danish combinations were beaten convincingly, there is every reason to believe that after a few meetings our pairs would do much better, because the Chinese doubles game lacks imagination, and the players place their shots according to a very fixed scheme, from which they very seldom depart.
One thing about the Chinese which was very impressive must not be omitted here, namely their preparations before the matches. Their warming up, which took place in a corner of the hall, lasted at least three quarters of an hour before every match and consisted of a carefully composed programme of gymnastic exercises, where the loosening up of every group of muscles of the body played an important part. During this ceremony they wore track suits and even large gloves.
During the matches they were grave and concentrated, and never by so much as the flutter of an eyelid did they betray the slightest surprise at any calls made by the umpire or the least annoyance with their own mistakes.They were polite and correct in every respect, and they kept on relentlessly till the end in spite of their often overwhelming superiority.
It will be interesting to follow the results of future meetings with the Chinese players, but all things considered, there can be no doubt that the warning the Danish players received on this occasion will be a very useful one.
DANISH INVITATION TOURNAMENT
At Copenhagen on October 19th and 20th
Wu Chun-chang beat T. Bacher 15-12, 15-3
Tang Hsien-hu beat S. Anderson 15-0, 15-4
Hou Chia-chang beat J. Mortensen 15-9, 15-10
Fang Kai-hsiang beat E. Kops 15-6, 15-10.
Miss Chen Yuniang beat Miss P. Molgaard Hansen 11-2, 11-2
Miss Liang Hsiao-mu beat Mrs. U. Strand 11-3, 12-10
Tang Hsien-hu and Hou Chia-chang beat H. Borch and J. Mortensen 15-9, 15-5
Lin Chien-chen and Wu Chun-chang beat E. Kops and C. Morild 15-11, 15-5
Miss Chen Yu-niang and Miss Liang Hsiao-mu beat Mrs. K. Jorgensen and Mrs. U. Strand 15-3, 15-9
Fang Kai-hsiang and Miss Chen Li-chuan beat H. Borch and Miss A. Flindt 15-3, 17-16
Lin Chien-chen and Miss Lianq Hsiao-mu beat P. E. Nielsen and Mrs. I. B. Anker Hansen 15-4, 12-15, 15-3
Tang beat Wu 15-8, 15-2
Hou beat Fang 15-9, 15-9
Tang beat Hou 15-9, 15-11
Miss Chen beat Miss Liang 11-7, 11-7
Lin and Wu beat Tang and Hou 15-6, 8-15, 15-10
Fang and Miss Chen beat Lin and Miss Liang 15-12, 15-10
-- By Ole Mertz (Danish Thomas Cup Player) - Badminton Gazette, November 1965