China gets off to flying start in badminton mixed doubles opener

2021-07-24 09:05:56 GMT2021-07-24 17:05:56(Beijing Time) Xinhua English

TOKYO, July 24 (Xinhua) -- Chinese top-seeded mixed doubles duo Zheng Siwei/Huang Yaqiong romped to a 2-0 win over the Egyptian pair Elgamal Adham Hatem/Hany Doha in badminton group openers, earning China a flying start as badminton games kicked off here on Saturday.

The Olympic badminton tournament officially kicked off as group play began early in the morning at the Musashino Forest Sport Plaza. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the games were played in an almost "empty" stadium without any spectators.

World No. 1 Zheng/Huang brushed aside their Egyptian opponents in straight sets, each by 21-5 and 21-10.

One of the biggest favorites to claim a gold medal in Olympics mixed doubles, Zheng/Huang, won the World Championships twice in 2018 and 2019. They were also crowned at the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Speaking of their first-ever journey to the Olympics, the Chinese pair said that the Olympic atmosphere on-field, on the whole, might be not as heated as before because of the pandemic, but the stress and pressure have by no means diminished.

"We were trying to bring ourselves into the game in this opening match fully, but we're not in our best condition," said Zheng. "We hope that from the next game, we can bring out our best and quickly go into the game from the onset."

The two-time world champions said that all athletes share the goal -- how to mobilize yourself into play fully. "Since all of us haven't played (international) sporting events for a long time, we hope to do our utmost to strengthen our initiative," they noted.

The mixed doubles shuttlers will compete against the Dutch duo Tabeling Robin/Piek Selena on Sunday, and the quarterfinals will start on July 28. Enditem