Powerhouse China beat Malaysia comprehensively to win the mixed team final at the Badminton Asia Youth Under-19 Championship here on Tuesday. The 3-1 win earned China their second consecutive title. They had beaten Malaysia in the previous edition too.
Tuesday's outcome of the summit clash was despite the apprehensions of Chinese officials, who were unsure of a repeat of last edition's success.
Except for the men's doubles final, where the Malaysian duo of Nelson Wei Ket Heg and Ee Yi Teo overcame Chen Zhuofu and Pei Tianyi in a marathon battle, it turned out to be an easy affair for the favourites.
Pei Tianyi and Ou Dongni outplayed Ee Yi Teo and Mei Kuan Chow 21-18, 21-13 in the opening mixed doubles to set the pace. Huang Yuxiang then notched up a 21-16, 21-17 win over Zulfadli Zulkiffi in the men's singles to stretch the lead to 2-0.
The real thriller
But the men's doubles tie was the real thriller where Malaysian players, despite dim light, bagged the third game at 30-29 after it was 1-all.
Both Nelson and Teo were in no position to return and Chen Zhuofu had a chance to drop the shuttle anywhere to finish off the match. But the Chinese's smash plunged into the net, allowing Malaysians a slim chance to make a comeback in the final with the scoreboard reading 1-2.
A Malaysian comeback was very much on the cards, when lanky Sun Yu lost the first game in the girls' singles to Sonia Su Ya Cheah 18-21. But she rallied back superbly to win the next two games 21-17, 21-14 to dash rival hopes.
"Though we lost the title, we are satisfied with our performance in the event, especially against China," said Heg.
"Teo and I have been playing together for the last two years."
This is China's third title since the inception of the event in 2005.