Asian Games 2018: Hong Kong’s badminton players preparing for ‘hell like’ atmosphere in Indonesia
The 7,000-seater facility has been problematic for many visiting players because of the noise created by the patriotic Indonesian spectators
Loud speakers have been set up to disturb the training of top mixed doubles duo Tang Chun-man and Tse Ying-suet to simulate potential conditions at the Jakarta venue as the Asian Games loom.
The pair, ranked fourth in the world, is a major medal hope for Hong Kong when badminton kicks off at Gelora Bung Karno Sports Palace next month.
The 7,000-seater facility has been dubbed a “hell like venue” by many visiting players because of the noise created by the patriotic Indonesian spectators.
“They have been training with music in the background for more than a week, not for any added entertainment, but to try to adapt to the environment they could encounter at the Asian Games,” said head coach Tim He Yiming.
“Many players find it difficult to keep their concentration when they play in the Jakarta venue. This happened many times before including this year’s Indonesia Masters in January and last month’s Indonesia Open.
“We turn on the music when the pair train, trying to distract them as much as possible and hopefully it can help improve their preparedness when they play in the Asian Games.”
Tse said her performance was affected by the environment when they last played there at the Indonesia Open.
“I could not even figure out when my partner hit the shuttlecock because it was so noisy inside the venue with fans screaming and yelling,” said Tse, who always adopts the front of court position. “It’s quite annoying as this is the only venue I have ever played in with such an environment. But this is the reality for the Asian Games. You must adapt to it and try not to be affected.”
The pair, who won the prestigious Denmark Open last year, has been gearing up for the Jakarta Games with intensive training aimed at improving their speed.
“We use four men’s players to play against the duo in order to improve the speed of their game,” said coach He. “They have been coming through the ranks quickly and catch a lot of attention from other countries. And now they are in the top five of the world and need to work harder if they want to break through to the top. The Asian Games will be a good opportunity as it is not easier than the Olympics with most badminton heavyweights in this region of the world. They need a major victory to further boost their confidence at the highest level.”
Hong Kong will be sending a full team to take part in all seven badminton programmes in Jakarta. Other than the two team events, Ng Ka-long has a point to prove in the men’s singles.
“I did not enter the Incheon Games four years ago as the places were occupied by the more senior players at that time,” said Ng, the 2016 Hong Kong Open champion who is currently ranked 10th in the world. “It will be interesting in the singles as both Lin Dan and Lee Chong Wei will be missing and who will be crowned the champion remains a big question mark. There will be some very tough battles as it’s always competitive in the regional games.”
Four years ago, Lin was crowned the champion after defeating compatriot Chen Long 2-1 in the final. Lin also overcame Lee Chong Wei in the semis while Chen brushed aside Wei Nan of Hong Kong in the other semi-final. Both Lee and Wei received a bronze medal with no play-off for third place.
The Hong Kong team will leave for the world championships which kick off in Nanjing on Monday as part of their final preparations for the Asian Games.