by Mike Grossman (from a report filed by J.Chang)

December 4, 1996 (New Shuttlenws) - The Olympic Games badminton gold and silver medalists went down to lesser-rated opponents today at the Grand Prix Finals in Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia.

Gold medalist Poul-Erik Hoyer-Larsen of Denmark was defeated by Hu Zhilan of China in a tight match 13-15, 15-12 and 15-18. Hoyer had chances to pull out the victory but the Chinese player prevailed in the setting.

Silver medalist Dong Jiong of China succumbed to Indra Wijaya of Indonesia 12-15 and 5-15.

However, the losses do not spell the end for the two top players at the Grand Prix Finals. The first stage of the tourney is a round-robin affair and both Hoyer and Dong, who are playing in separate groups, still have a chance at getting to the semifinals on Saturday. They will have to win their two remaining matches apiece and hope that Wijaya and Hu get defeated by the other players in their groups.

Rashid Sidek of Malaysia, the bronze medalist at Atlanta, won his opening match against Soren Nielsen of Denmark 15-10 and 15-1, while Alan Budikusuma of Indonesia, the Olympic gold medalist in 1992, turned back a strong challenge from his younger compatriot, Budi Santoso, 6-15, 15-7 and 15-10.

Some of the first day results are:

Men's Singles
Group B
Indra Wijaya - Indonesia beat Dong Jiong - China 15-12, 15-5
Group C
Rashid Sidek - Malaysia beat Soren Nielsen - Denmark 15-10, 15-1 Group D
Allan Budikusuma - Indonesia beat Budi Santoso - Indonesia 6-15, 15-7, 15-10
Hu Zhilan - China beat Poul-Erik Hoyer-Larsen - Denmark 15-13, 12-15, 18-15

Women's Singles
Group A
Mia Audina - Indonesia beat Christine Gandrup - Sweden 11-3, 11-1
Group B
Ye Zhaoying - China beat Yao Yan - China 11-7, 11-1

Men's Doubles
Group A
Cheah Soon Kit/Yap Kim Hock - Malaysia beat Peter Axelsson/Par-Gunnar Jonsson - Sweden 15-12, 6-15, 15-5

Women's Doubles
Group B
Eliza/Rosiana Zelin - Indonesia beat Helene Kirkegaard/Rikke Olsen - Denmark 15-6, 15-2
Ge Fei/Gu Jun - China beat Nicola Beck/Joanne Davies - England 15-4, 15-0