So that’s it, another remarkable YONEX All England Open Badminton Championships draw to a close, and for the first time since 1999, names from five different nations adorn the trophies.
Over the course of six days, thousands of fans from all corners of the globe have descended on Birmingham’s Barclaycard Arena, ready to watch some of the world’s finest players step onto court.
In a year that marked the YONEX All England Open’s 107th anniversary, we’ve seen it all – shocks, upsets, elation and joy, and a great deal of sensational badminton.
It all culminated with five remarkable finals in front of a record crowd, and here’s how the action unfolded.
First up on court was the mixed doubles trophy tussle, with Peng Soon Chan and Liu Ying Goh of Malaysia taking on China’s Lu Kai and Huang Yaqiong for what would mark either pairs’ maiden YONEX All England title.
The Malaysians took the opening game with relative ease, cruising to a 21-18 win, before Lu and Huang, who defeated English favourites Chris and Gabby Adcock in the semi-finals, found their feet in the second.
They came from behind to topple Chan and Goh from 19-all, before taking the deciding game without ever falling behind in what would prove to be the only three-game final of the day.
“I think this is the fourth time that we have played here,” said Huang. “When we first came here we were very young and were always looking towards winning a title here, but to actually win it is such a surprise, I am so happy.”
All eyes were on the ensuing men’s singles final, as world number one Lee Chong Wei took on reigning champion Lin Dan’s unseeded conqueror Shi Yuqi.
A magnificent roar erupted as the Malaysian walked onto court, and he soon wrapped up a 21-12 21-10 victory to land his fourth YONEX All England title – and he vowed to be back next year.
“I have won a lot of Superseries, but winning the All England is a different feeling as it’s my favourite, it’s an amazing tournament,” he said.
For the first time in 21 years, Europe had representation in the women’s doubles final as Denmark’s Kamilla Rytter Juhl and Christinna Pedersen faced Chang Ye Na and Lee So Hee of Korea.
No European women’s doubles team has won the event since 1981, but that fact wasn’t to change as the Koreans triumphed 21-18 21-13.
Lee said: “All players want to win the All England Championships.
“When we were young we dreamed of it and the dream has come true, we can’t believe it.”
Elsewhere on finals day, stunning play from Indonesian racket wizards Marcus Fernaldi Gideon and Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo saw them lift the men’s doubles silverware.
They overcame sixth seeds Li Junhui and Liu Yuchen in straight games to win their first title since November.
“We are extremely happy, it’s such an extraordinary feeling, winning the All England,” said Gideon.
“I didn’t expect this to happen so fast, so it motivates us even further to do better.”
In the women’s singles contest between top seed Tai Tzu Ying and Ratchanok Intanon, a win for either player would mark a first YONEX All England title for their respective nations.
And despite a nailbiting second game, it was Tai who took top honours, sealing a 21-16 22-20 victory in 51 minutes.
“Many thanks to all the supporters for staying late to enjoy my match, I am very grateful,” she said.
“I like it here a lot, winning in front of this crowd makes me really happy.”
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