Tuesday is a big day for European shuttlers as most of their hopefuls marched into the next round at the Olympic badminton tournament in the Beijing University of Technology Gymnasium.
British veterans Gail Emms and Nathan Robertson made a sweet revenge over two-time Olympic champion Gao Ling with her new partner Zheng Bo by beating them in the first round of mixed doubles 21-16, 16-21, 21-19.
At the Athens Olympics, the British pair was upset by Gao Ling and her then partner Zhang Jun in the breathtaking final.
"I am a lit bit sorry that I failed to win a third Olympic gold," said Gao who had bagged four Olympic medals and set to retire after the Beijing Games. "We could have done better given more time to improve our cooperation."
In a first-round men's doubles match, No. 3 seeds Jung Jae Sung and Lee Yong Dae from South Korea, regarded as favorites at the tournament, were ousted by Danish veterans Lars Passke and Jonas Rasmussen 16-21, 19-21.
Lee Yong Dae, a badminton genius for doubles, apparently disappointed by the unexpected defeat, declined to answer any questions from the mixed zone. Maybe the easy victory in mixed doubles with Lee Hyo Jung late today could partly make up for the loss.
In another match of men's doubles, Polish pair Michal Logosz and Robert Mateusiak advanced into the quarter-final by beating an Australian pair.
Meteusiak also made into the quarter-final of mixed doubles with his partner Nadiezda Kostiuczyk by defeating a pair from Seychelles.
Peter Gade, nicknamed Danish Golden Boy in China, survived a tough match against Shoji Sato 19-21, 22-20, 21-15, booking the only berth for European in men's singles quarter-finals.
Tuesday also witnessed Hsieh Yu Hsin from Chinese Taipei setting the best record for the island in men's singles event at the Olympics, by downing Malaysian veteran Wong Choong Hann in 14-21, 21-17, 21-18.
"I'm too excited. It is so hard for me to hold back happy tears," said Hsieh, who threw his T-shirt soaked with sweat to a cheering spectator on the stand when interviewed at the mixed zone.
In men's singles, other berths for quarter-finals were taken by the top four seeds, Lin Dan from China, Lee Chong Wei from Malaysia, Bao Chunlai from China, Chen Jin from China, and Sony Dwi Kuncoro from Indonesia, Lee Hyun Il from South Korea.
In men's doubles, top two seeds Markis Kido and Hendra Setiawan from Indonesia, Cai Yun and Fu Haifeng from China made into quarter-finals.
In mixed doubles, top seeds Nova Widianto and Liliyana Natsir from Indonesia, No. 4 seeds He Hanbin and Yu Yang from China advanced into quarter-finals with other six pairs.
(Xinhua News Agency August 13, 2008)