'Unusual partnership' strikes gold for HK at Youth Olympics

Hong Kong's Yoyo Ng teams up with Malaysian player for success in mixed doubles badminton

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 23 August, 2014, 12:43am
UPDATED : Saturday, 23 August, 2014, 1:39pm

Hong Kong's Yoyo Ng Tsz-yau scooped Hong Kong's second gold medal on Friday playing alongside Malaysian Cheam June Wei in the mixed doubles badminton, a format which randomly pairs players from the pool of singles competitions.

The unusual format has the aim of fostering good international relations among the young competitors in accordance with the Youth Olympics' stated goals and values.

The champions eliminated the pair of Japanese Kanta Tsuneyama and Taiwanese Lee Chia-hsin in straight sets, 21-14, 23-21.

Once we were paired up, we just worked better and better throughout the group stage and knockout matches
Yoyo Ng

Ng, 16, thanked her scratch partner and said they had quickly built a good partnership with the help of their coaches.

"My partner is an all-rounder and did really well. I have met him at other competitions but we had never talked. Once we were paired up, we just worked better and better throughout the group stage and knockout matches. I had aimed to reach the semi-final and I am delighted to win this unexpected gold medal," said Ng, who also reached the quarter-final in singles.

Hosts China maintained their world domination in badminton as Shi Yuqi and He Bingjiao bagged the men's and women's singles gold medals respectively.

Top seed Shi defeated compatriot and world junior champion Lin Guipu in straight sets while He avenged her world junior championships final loss against Akane Yamaguchi by beating the Japanese in a hard-fought final.

Meanwhile, an exhausted Siobhan Haughey failed to add to her collection of two silver medals in the pool on Friday when the 16-year-old finished fifth in 25.61 seconds in the 50m freestyle final on the last day of swimming events. She was competing in her fourth individual event, having earlier in the day swum a heat in the mixed 4x100m medley relay with other Hong Kong swimmers.

"I wanted a faster finish but I had already given my best today. Overall, I am overjoyed to scoop two silvers," said Haughey.

"I knew all along it was going to be tough. The top junior swimmers were all participating and I really needed to give my best from the very beginning to advance," she said, "Having heats, semi-finals and then finals for most of my events and swim on every day of the six days of competition drained me. It proved to be tougher than my experiences at the East Asian Games last year as the rivals are stronger here."

Brazil's hopes of producing a homegrown winner at the Rio Olympics began to look plausible when Matheus Santana won the men's 100 metres freestyle final.

The 18-year-old Brazilian cruised to victory in 48.25 seconds - a world record for a junior swimmer.

China collected two more golds to finish at the top of the medals table in the pool, followed by Russia.

Colombia won the men's cycling gold after John Andreson Rodriguez Salazar survived the heat and challenging conditions to grab enough points to put his team on top.

Additional reporting by Reuters