The 2012 Olympic badminton tournament kicked off this morning at the Wembley Arena in London in front of a sell out partisan crowd. The majority of that crowd were there to see and support the early morning exploits of world silver medallists Chris Adcock and Imogen Bankier as the GB pair took to the court in the venue that saw them lift that coveted silver medal last year.
But a year is a long time in sport and badminton is no exception. The GB pair were up against the vastly experienced Russian duo of Sorokina and Nikolaenko and all looked to be going according to plan with an opening set victory to the shouts of GB, GB from the enthusiastic crowd.
But that was as good as it got as far as Adcock and Bankier were concerned as the Russians steadily found their game and with Sorokina in sparkling form around the net they dominated the remainder of the match to win in three games.
“This is Olympic games so we were ready mentally for this first match. We gained confidence with every point and they (Adcock & Bankier) looked nervous.” said a very happy Russian pair after their victory.
A dream start for the Russians for sure which now leaves Adcock and Bankier with an uphill battle to get out of the group. In essence they will most likely have to now beat the top seeds and reigning world champions Zhang Nan and Zhao Yunlei if they are to advance and all of a sudden the all European match up with Fuchs/Michels of Germany has assumed extra importance.
“We are obviously very disappointed after this loss especially in front of this great crowd. It makes life just a little more difficult now but we certainly believe we have what it takes to win the next two matches and get out of the group” commented Adcock after the defeat
The fans did not have to wait long to witness the first home win of these badminton Olympics. Susan Egelstaff, looking as fit and as trim as she has ever done, literally blew Maja Tvrdy of Slovenia off the court and all under the watchful eye of Prince Charles who had dropped him to show his support as she got GB’s first win.
“It’s great to have my injury issues well behind me and the build up to the games has gone really well. I was pretty nervous at the start but in a strange way having the big crowd here actually forced me to concentrate all the harder as I am more used to playing in smaller halls with smaller crowds” said a relieved Egelstaff after her victory.
Anu Nieminem was in philosophical mood after her victory over Victoria Montero of Mexico: “The second game was not pretty but at least I won and that is a nice feeling to finally do in my fourth Olympics”
Elsewhere Czech flag bearer Petr Koukal was given a master class in top level badminton by a rejuvenated Taufiq Hidayat. Koukal, who qualified in the final place for these Olympics, summed that game up in a single sentence after his defeat to the Indonesian. “He does not miss lines he hits every single one of them and he is just a phenomenal player”.
Photo (live) by BadmintonPhoto (YL)