Indonesia, Japan top Asian badminton

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    INDONESIA and Japan subdued their separate rivals yesterday to clinch the men’s and women’s crowns, respectively, in the Badminton Asia Manila Team championships at the Rizal Memorial Coliseum.

    Both reigning Asian Games team champions, the Indons whipped Malaysia 4-1 while the Japanese shut out South Korea 3-0 in the tournament organized by Smash Pilipinas-Philippine Badminton Association.

    World No. 5 Anthony Gunting got the ball rolling for the Indons, mixing his shots with precision in downing Malaysian Lee Zi Jia 22-20, 21-16.

    The world No. 1 doubles tandem of Markus Gideon and Kevin  Sukamuljo were forced to sweat it out before fashioning a 22-20, 21-16 decision over the Malaysian pair of Aaron Chie and Woo Ji Ik.

    Chean June Wei avoided an Indonesia sweep and extended the best-of-5 series to an extra match after rallying to beat Asian Games men’s single champion Jonathan Christie 21-16, 17-21, 22-20.

    But the Indons were not to be denied as Mohammad Ahshan and Fathar Ashan swept On Yew Sin and Jeo Eee Yi 21-18, 21-17 to clinch the tie.

    Awarding the trophies was businessman-sportsman Manny Pangilinan, the PBA chairman; PBA president Albee Benitez as well as Philippine Olympic Committee executive board member Cynthia Carrion of gymnastics.

    Ahne Yamaguchi gained the initiative for the Japanese by downing hard-fighting An Se Young 21-16, 19-21, 23-21 after a marathon struggle that lasted one hour and 23 minutes in the opening singles.