Bao: I have not expected to win so lightly
2007-11-26 01:47:00   CIS

(Guangzhou, November 25) Inside the Guangzhou Tianhe Sports Center hangs a picture, in which Bao Chunlai looks down at a gold medal in hand with Lin Dan admiring him beside. The picture was taken at the 2000 World Junior Championships, when 17-year-old Bao made his debut and won his first world title. It can be said that Guangzhou is his place of promise. However, in the previous three China Open Championships held here, he fought into the finals but turned out runner-up in all the three times.

Today, Bao appeared in the competition court of the Guangzhou Tianhe Sports Center for another time and again made his way into the finals. His rival at this time turned out to be his past challenger, Chong Wei Lee from Malaysia. The celebrated Malaysian shuttler who became known in the international arena in 2003 took the upper hand in the several clashes with Bao, including the French Open that just ended, in which Lee vanquished Bao to carry off the first prize.

The match turned out less fierce than expected. After winning the first set 21-12, Bao soon led the second set 20-13 and got the match point. Before delivering the last service, Bao, as usual, walked about for a moment in the court to pull himself together. The player who is famous for his fine hand feel sent a short service and the shuttle flew close to the net. Though Lee hit the shot back, Bao took the chance to launch a backcourt play shot. Before Lee had time to respond, Bao jumped up high and threw his racket against the ceiling. The victory was just in time. Bao had a tight embrace with his chief coach Zhong Bo after receiving the prize.

"I'm really happy to have taken the title. I have made good preparations before this event. An excellent player, Chong Wei Lee is now also one of the most powerful challengers for the Chinese team," said Bao, who apparently got relaxed after the match. Before the start of the contest, Mew Choo Wong, Lee's girlfriend, who had just beat Xie Xingfang to win the title in the women's singles that had just concluded, shook hands with Lee and said "cheers" softly to him. But Bao kept walking around aside, without speaking to anyone. Expressionless, he impressed people as being somewhat solemn.

"As we had lost the women's singles to Malaysia, I told myself that I must hold on and win honor for our country." Bao admitted frankly that he was under high pressure after our loss in an advantageous event. But the pressure was ultimately turned into motivation. "I think that since I'm able to enter the final I'm surely strong enough to take the title. Whether for ten times or one hundred times, I'll always firmly believe in my own strength." Bao held up the cup high above head after capturing the championship, beaming with his familiar smile. Bao has always been ranking in the top five places since his debut and can often enter the finals of open championships. However, he has rarely won the first place in the finals. His records after 2005 reveal that he lost 11 times in his 12 admissions into the finals. The only victory took place in last year's Korean Open. Normal people should all appreciate Bao's joy at winning the title this time.

"As a matter of fact, I had not expected that I would win so easily. Perhaps my rival was affected somewhat in the match and failed to play steadily." In this match, as a result of the dispute of "in" and "out", the clock was stopped once. Lee insisted that Bao had hit a shot out and threw the racket before the referee in protest, but in vain. Bao said, "Because I was not on his side I did not see clearly. I thought it was a proper shot myself. But Lee thought it was out. His response was very normal as a player."

"Tomorrow's match will be tough. Bao Chunlai is in good form recently and is also playing home," said Lee when somebody predicted yesterday that he would claim the title. However, he succumbed to Bao finally despite his full preparation. As Chen Hong's waiver in the men's singles quarterfinal made it possible for Bao to be directly promoted, when asked whether he would like to say something to Chen, Bao smiled and said "thanks" after a while.