Tokyo Olympics: bronze heartbreak for Hong Kong’s badminton pair of Tang Chun-man and Tse Ying-suet as Japan prevails
- ‘We were not brave enough to go all out,’ says Tse, but pair battled for every point in attempt to win for departing coach Chen Kang
- Japan’s Yuta Watanabe and Arisa Higashino win 2-0 as Hongkongers come up short in quest for city’s first badminton medal
This was a reminder of the cruelty of sport. For the winner a bronze medal, for the loser, nothing.
Sadly for Hong Kong’s badminton mixed doubles pair Tang Chun-man and Tse Ying-suet, they were on the losing side against Japan’s Yuta Watanabe and Arisa Higashino.
It ended 2-0 at the Musashino Forest Sports Park Plaza, in what Tse said is likely her last Olympics appearance, but it was a valiant fight from the Hongkongers against the winners of the All England championships back in March, the fifth-best pairing in the world.
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“Hong Kong athletes have done a good job, especially in swimming and fencing as we were able to compete against some of the biggest countries,” Tse said.
Hongkongers applaud badminton pair despite close loss in Olympic bronze medal match
“Even if we come from a very small city – it all made possible because of our hard work and belief in ourselves and I feel very proud.
“I feel medals won in this Olympic Games can bring HK people hope and joy.”
The bronze-medal match, like Siobhan Haughey’s silver medal winning race in the final of the women’s 100m freestyle final just before it, brought some of the city’s malls to a standstill.
“I’m very happy that so many people gathered around to support Hong Kong athletes and they give us so much motivation,” Tse said. “I hope this will not happen every four years and they will continue to support us in other events.”
There was pressure on the badminton players, and not just to keep up with the fencers and swimmers.
“Hong Kong badminton has never won an Olympic medal – we were just one step from it and we were really eager to grab it, so I’m disappointed. We really want to get the medal, Tse said.
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Tse said that there was some regret: “We wanted to cover everything [on the court] and we were not brave enough to go all out.”
“We had the chances,” Tang said. “I feel sorry, it is so difficult to make it to the semi-finals and in the end we missed the medal. I would say we have performed at 80 or 85 per cent but not 100 per cent, there’s a bit of regret, we were not good enough.”
It looked like they gave 100 per cent as they challenged the Japanese for every shot, saving two match points as they tried to take it to a third game.
Tang pointed out how far the pair had come. At the start of the year they looked like miss out on the Tokyo Games. Tse said she was surprised how well she and Tang had done, while he thanked her for her guidance.
“Tse and the coaches never gave up on me,” he said.
Tse was tearful as she spoke of failing to win a medal for departing coach Chen Kang in her final match at an Olympics.
“I could do nothing and give any tangible gift to thank our coaches. [I am] so happy I could come across him, [without him] I am nothing. I want to thank him so much for his work over the years,” Tse said.
“It will not be the same without him on the court and I may not get used to it as he told me I am the one he would miss most in the whole team.
“He said he first came to Hong Kong because he wanted to help me in the Olympics and this time I could not get a medal for him and it’s a big disappointment.”
Despite falling short of a medal, Tang enjoyed the ride of this Olympics.
“We played match after match to reach the medal play-off,” he said. “Although we did not get what we wanted here in the bronze medal, I still feel so happy.”