Australia hosted it’s second Olympic Games in the year 2000 in Sydney. Badminton at Sydney Olympics 2000 was held in the Dome and Exhibition Complex. The games were played in the knock-out draws format, best of three games of 15 points each.
Only the women’s singles games were played to 11 points each. China looked to bag multiple golds at least in this third edition of badminton at Olympics. Despite being a dominant force in badminton, China had won just one gold medal in the previous two Olympic Games.
Also Read: Badminton at Barcelona Olympics 1992
Winners in Badminton at Sydney Olympics 2000
It was an interesting turn of events in the men’s singles category. Peter Gade of Denmark was the number one ranked player and Taufik Hidayat, The King of Backhand was the top seed. Neither of them won a medal. Ji Xingpeng of China, seeded 17 was the question that came out of syllabus. He upset the top players and the favourites.
The Chinese clinched the gold medal, beating Hendrawan of Indonesia in the finals. On the way to the finals he vanquished Peter Gade in the Semi finals and Taufik Hidayat in the quarter finals. Also Xia Xuanze of China won the bronze after defeating Peter Gade in the bronze medal play-off. The podium finish of men’s singles was nothing like expected.
In the women’s singles category in badminton at Sydney Olympics 2000, the first and second seed won the gold and silver respectively. Gong Zhichao of China won the gold. Camilla Martin of Denmark clinched silver and Ye Zhaoying of China won the Bronze.
The men’s doubles final was spectacular. The match was a really long one with nail-biting rallies with one lasting 79 strokes and a score of 15-10, 9-15, 15-7. The number one seeds Candra Wijaya and Tony Gunawan of Indonesia prevailed over rivals Lee Dong Su and Yu Yong Seong of Korea to claim the coveted Gold medal.
Minarti Timur and Tri Kushharyanto, first seeds from Indonesia in the mixed doubles category settled for silver as they went down to Gao Ling and Zhang Jun of China who won the gold. The bronze medal play off interestingly was an all European affair with Joanne Goode and Simon Archer of Britain wining the bronze after beating Rikke Olsen and Michael Sogaard of Denmark.
Ge Fei and Gu Jun successfully defended their title at Sydney in the women’s doubles discipline in an all Chinese finals. Compatriots Huang Nanyan and Yang Wei finished runner up. Gao Ling added a bronze to her kitty with Qin Yiyuan after having won gold in the mixed doubles.
161 athletes from 28 countries participated at Sydney Olympic Games. China, Indonesia, Korea, Denmark and Great Britain were the countries to win medals at the Games. This edition saw the beginning of dominance of China in Badminton at the Olympics as they bagged four of the five golds in this sport. Among the European countries, in addition to Denmark, Great Britain opened its medals tally in badminton.
Also Read: Badminton at Atlanta Olympics 1996
Indian Shuttlers at Sydney, 2000
Only two athletes from India qualified for badminton at the Sydney Olympic Games.
The former All England Champion and current Chief National Coach of India, Pullela Gopichand represented his country in the men’s singles category. Gopichand progressed up to the pre-quarter finals stage where he lost to the silver medallist Hendrawan in straight games 15-9, 15-4.
Aparna Popat, is a player with a record of winning the 9 senior national championships consecutively. The former national champion represented India in the women’s singles discipline in the Olympics in 2000. At the Games she went down fighting to Kelly Morgan of Great Britain in the Round of 64 with a score line of 5-11, 11-7 and 11-2.