Medal chase over: Hong Kong badminton pair fail to reach the play-off stage after tough Chinese opponents
Cathy Chau and Reginald Lee lose to top seeds Zhang Nan and Xhao Yunlei in their penultimate group match and have pride to play for in final Rio appearance
Hong Kong’s Cathy Chau Hoi-wah will ponder her future as an athlete after she and her partner Reginald Lee Chun-hei failed to reach the play-off rounds of the badminton mixed doubles competition in Rio.
Chau and Lee lost 21-15, 21-15 to the top-seeded Chinese pair of Zhang Nan and Zhao Yunlei in group A, their second defeat.
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On Thursday, they lost in three games to Indonesia’s Praveen Jordan and Debby Susanto, who on Friday beat the other group A team, Germany’s Michael Fuchs and Birgit Michels, in straight games to confirm Hong Kong’s exit.
Women’s singles player Yip Pui-yin was also beaten in her first preliminary match, going down 5-21, 21-13, 21-19 to Estonia’s Kati Tolmoff while the women's doubles team of Tse Yuen-suet and Poon Lok-kan lost for the second time - 21-15, 21-13 to Malaysia's Vivian Hoo Kah Mu and Woon Khe Wei.
In their last match, the Hong Kong pair play the Germans and the 30-year-old Chau said she did not know if she would be around for the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta.
“The Asian Games is still too far away,” said Chau, who along with Lee was expected to at least reach the last eight. “That decision hasn’t been made yet and I’m still thinking about it.
“After Rio, I’ll have a chat with the coaches and sit down with myself and think about the future.”
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In both games against the Chinese pair, Chau and Lee allowed their opponents to surge ahead at the start before mounting some sort of comeback.
But Chau said Zhang and Zhao were always going to be hard to beat.
“We played our best,” said Chau. “No one likes [the result], but we played against a very tough team. They are the top seeds.
“I wish we could have played well from the start, but they are really top players and whatever we did, it would have been a hard match. If I could have started better, it may have been a different match.
“We cant make the quarters now, but I hope tomorrow [against the Germans] we will perform better. We need to enjoy our last match at the Olympics.
“I don’t want to act like it’s the end of the world, but I am very sad because we worked very hard for this tournament.”
Coach Tim He Yiming said he was happy with his pair’s performance, but was ruing their loss to the Indonesians.
“The defeat in the opening match put us in a difficult position,” he said. “That was a crucial match and made today’s match even more difficult. Our players will give it all in their last group match.”