Asian Games 2018: ‘devil’s home’ in Jakarta a challenge for China’s badminton stars
Revamped Istora Gelora Bung Karno venue is small and airy but China’s badminton squad are still confident of Asian Games glory in Indonesia
China’s badminton singles coach Xia Yuze has described the Asian Games venue as the “devil’s home” because of its confined space and powerful air conditioners that may interfere with the shuttlecock.
The Istora Gelora Bung Karno in the main Jakarta Convention Centre complex has been refurbished for the Asian Games badminton competition and has a capacity of more than 7,100.
However Xia said the breeze from the air cons will affect all players in the tournament but it is something they must get used to, having had the benefit of playing at the same venue during the Indonesian Open just last month.
“This venue is the ‘devil’s home’, and we have mentioned it before,” Xia told mainland media. “It is really different from other venues. The small space will be for all players but it will certainly have an impact on them.
“The weather is damp and hot in Jakarta so the air conditioners in the venue will be bigger. But we are familiar with Indonesia and have played in the Open every year.”
The revamped venue staged the Indonesian Open for the first time this year with China’s Shi Yuqi reaching the semi-finals before losing to Viktor Axelsen. Japan’s Asian Games gold medal favourite Kento Momota won the event.
In the women’s singles, Chen Yufei reached the final before losing in three games to Taiwan’s Tai Tzu-ying.
China’s first task, though, is the men’s and women’s team events, which start on Sunday. Top seeds China have a first-round bye and then are likely to face Hong Kong in the quarter-finals of the men’s competition.
Hong Kong take on Mongolia in the round of 16 and it will be a major upset if they lose. In the women’s event, China, as second seeds, have an opening bye and then face either Maldives or Nepal for a place in the semi-finals.
China have brought their heavy hitters to Jakarta with the badminton squad being led by two-time Olympic champion Lin Dan and reigning champion Chen Long, along with Shi.