Hong Kong's Yip runs out of fuel against world No 3

PUBLISHED : Friday, 03 August, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 15 August, 2012, 10:54pm

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Hong Kong badminton fans had their eyes glued to their television sets last night as the city's top female player, Yip Pui-yin, took on the mainland's Li Xuerui for a place in the semi-finals of the Olympic tournament.

Yip, however, was no match for the world No 3, losing 21-12, 22-20 in 40 minutes.

'This is my second Olympic Games and I played far better than I did in Beijing four years ago. Unfortunately, I didn't take advantage when the chances came my way,' said Yip, who was ahead 20-16 in the second game before being pegged back by Li.

China's Wang Yihan and Wang Xin also reached the semi-finals, with India's Saina Nehwal standing in the way of a Chinese sweep.

Even before the match had started, internet users flooded social media sites with messages of support for the Hong Kong No 1. Yahoo even started a support page for Yip.

The most common comment on the sites was 'add fuel!' - a Chinese term often used at sporting events to encourage athletes to put in that extra ounce of effort

The Hong Kong-born Yip, 24, who is nicknamed 'Black Girl' because of her tanned skin, had already equalled the best Olympics performance by a badminton player from the city by reaching the quarter-finals, beating two seeded players - Sung Ji-hyun of South Korea and Pi Hongyan of France - along the way.

Former world No 1 Wang Chen is the only other player from the city to have reached the last eight at an Olympic Games, when she achieved the feat at Athens in 2004.

'Black Girl, we support you, Hongkongers will support you till the end, yeah!' wrote one supporter on Yip's Facebook page.

'Let's cheer for our Black Girl! Yip Pui-yin is amazing!!!' said another.

'Add fuel! We have faith in you,' wrote another fan. Others encouraged the Doha Asian Games silver medallist to enjoy the moment. 'No matter what the result, you will forever be the gold medallist in our hearts ... you will forever be Hong Kong's pride,' posted one supporter.