European Championships hosts on Olympic ground
Date: 7/25/2021 1:12 PM
Published by : Rasmus Bech(BEC)

The two Ukrainian players have played their first match at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

One of the biggest highlights in international badminton so far in 2021 has been the European Championships, which was hosted in Kyiv, Ukraine in April/May. The Ukrainian hosts did an excellent job, and the players were proud to welcome the European badminton family to the capital of Ukraine. Three months later the hosts are now the guests.

Maria Ulitina created one of the biggest upsets in Olympics badminton history, when she back in 2016 beat Indian super star, Saina Nehwal, in the group stage.

Tough opening day for Ulitina
In her opening match of the Olympic tournament in Tokyo, Maria Ulitina faced American Beiwen Zhang, who has been practicing at the Badminton Europe Centre of Excellence leading up to the Olympics.

Zhang, who is seeded 11 in the tournament, had the control throughout the whole match, and Maria Ulitina lost her opening match at the Tokyo Games in straight games 21-12 21-7.

- Obviously, it was not that good for me. I could not keep my game and could not take the control of the shuttle speed, Ulitina said.

- I was just trying to play my game. The last two years have been mentally difficult and this time it did not work for me, she added.

Zii Jia too good for Pochtarov
Artem Pochtarov also entered court as the underdog facing the All England 2021 winner, Lee Zii Jia, Malaysia. 

The Malaysian candidate to the Olympic title dominated in the opening game winning 21-5.

Zii Jia is one of the favourites to win a medal in Tokyo and based on his opening match, the Malaysian is ready to play.

Crazy good
Zii Jia played with a high speed and accuracy beating Pochtarov 21-11 in the second game.

- It was such a big difference. For me, he was just too good. I know I was injured and I had Covid, so the last three-four months were hard for me, but it doesn’t matter. He was crazy good. He was very fast and now I see why he won the All England, the Ukrainian said.

- I think he’s one of those who can win the Olympics or at least get a medal. So good luck to him, and I will cheer for him.

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