** This NEW SHUTTLENWS REPORT is presented by badminton world champions YANG YANG (1987 and 1989) and ZHAO JIAN HUA (1991) and by YANG YANG BADMINTON PRODUCTS **

November 30, 1997 (NEW SHUTTLENWS) - Jeroen van Dijk of the Netherlands today captured the Golden Racket award and the expensive motorcycle that was at stake at the SAS Badminton Trophy men's singles invitational tournament in Dornbirn, Austria. In the tournament finals held this afternoon, van Dijk beat Pullela Gopichand of India 15-8 and 15-13.

The van Dijk-Gopichand final was a bit of an anticlimax as the two semifinals held earlier in the day provided more excitement.

In one of the semifinals, Pullela Gopichand and Wong Choon Hann of Malaysia engaged each other in a tremendous contest between two players of almost equal skill. The battle between Gopichand and Wong was decided in three sets, all of which went to deuce at 13-all. Wong took the first game 18-13 and the Indian champion won the second 18-14. Like the first two sets, the decider was nip-and-tuck most of the way with one player scoring and then the other coming back to tie or to go ahead. Gopichand finally prevailed in a tiebreaker at 5-2 (18-15 in the game).

In the other semifinal, Denmark's Kenneth Jonassen seemed to be on his way to the championship match as he walloped Jeroen van Dijk in the opener 15-7. The young Dane could not sustain his game in the second and it was van Dijk's turn to administer the trouncing as he won at 15-4.

In the decider, Jonassen came out strong and was ahead by several points at mid-game. After the change of ends, Jonassen built up an even larger lead at 11-5. The more experienced van Dijk though came back on inspired play and on several Jonassen miscues as the pressure of an elite-level semifinal had its effect on Jonassen. Van Dijk caught up to Jonassen and was able to close the Dane out 15-13.

In the afternoon, van Dijk and Gopichand came back on court to contest the championship. Gopichand who had had the more difficult semifinal did not have seem to have the game to fight off van Dijk in the first set, which the Dutch player won 15-8. The Indian champion put up a stiffer fight in the second but van Dijk was not to be denied victory in the closing moments, taking the game, match and championship at 15-13.