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Olympic Test Event: World Champions Sparkle In Olympic Dryrun

** This NEW SHUTTLENWS report is presented by YANG YANG Badminton Products and their Ontario (Canada) agents - SHAH Enterprises **

September 6, 1999 (NEW SHUTTLENWS) - Kim Dong Moon, Ha Tae Kwon and Ra Kyung Min of Korea, all current world champions, provided top-caliber performances at the Australian International - Olympic Test Event badminton championships at the Olympic Park in Sydney this past week. Kim who shares the world men's doubles title with Ha Tae Kwon and the world mixed doubles title with Ra Kyung Min swept thru the men's doubles competition with temporary partner Yoo Yung Sung while Ra dominated the women's doubles event with partner Lee Hyo Jung.

Because the Australian International was not part of the World Grand Prix circuit and did not offer the competitors sufficient world ranking points even if they won a title, top players like Koreans Kim, Ha and Ra and Englishmen Simon Archer and Chris Hunt did not play with their normal partners so that they would not affect their competitive standing and Olympic qualifying points. Kim usually competes with Ha and Ra with Chung Jae Hee. Archer's usual mixed doubles partner is Joanne Goode; at this tournament, he partnered Donna Kellogg who usually teams up with Chris Hunt.

Players of the caliber of Kim, Ha, Ra and Archer do not usually compete in events like the Australian International, but because the tournament offered a chance to test out the badminton hall for the 2000 Olympic Games, several world-class competitors made the long trip to Sydney.

In yesterday's men's doubles final, Kim and Yoo faced off against Ha and Lee Dong Soo in an 82-minute contest that thrilled the spectators with booming jumpsmashes, lightning-fast drives and equally quick defensive reflexes. Kim and Yoo came out on top 14-17, 15-9 and 15-12.

In the women's doubles championship contest also played yesterday, Ra and Lee battled Chung and Yim Kyung Jin over three sets that featured many fast and furious rallies. Ra and Lee prevailed over Chung and Yim 17-16, 6-15 and 15-3.

In the men's singles final, Indonesian-born Rio Suryana of Australia delighted the home crowd when he overcame some early difficulties to overwhelm Abhinni Shyam Gupta of India with strong and pinpoint smashing as well as tight net shots. Suryana won the match 15-6 and 15-6.

The 22-year old Suryana who moved to Australia from Indonesia three years ago has moved to the top of Australia's badminton rankings and hopes to represent his adopted country in the 2000 Olympic Games, if he can obtain Australian citizenship by then. Suryana has had some success in the Indonesian regional tournament circuit but never moved up to the national team. He has one World Grand Prix tournament title to his name - the 1999 Polish Open.

In the women's singles final, Sandra Dimbour of France upset the heavily favoured but error-prone Brenda Beenhakker of Netherland 11-3 and 11-5.

Michael Keck of Germany and Erica Van Den Heuvel of Netherland won the mixed doubles title. In an error-filled final, they defeated an even more erratic English combination of Chris Hunt and Gail Emms 15-9 and 15-10.

Aside from the Koreans, the badminton hall where the 2000 Olympic Games badminton medals will be contested was another sparkler at the tournament. The competitors at the Olympic dryrun found much to like and nothing serious to complain about except the over-bright lighting.


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