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Olympics: Tai advances to the round of 16 in women's badminton

2016/08/15 12:41:24

Tai Tsu-ying

Taipei, Aug. 14 (CNA) Tai Tzu-ying (戴資穎), a badminton player representing Taiwan beat her Russian rival Natalia Perminova 2-0 to advance to the round of 16 in women's badminton singles at the Rio Olympics Sunday.

Tai, 22, who currently ranks 8th in the world, has been viewed as a gold medal hopeful for Taiwan in the 2016 Olympics.

The Taiwanese athlete trounced her Russian rival 21-12, 21-9 in straight sets to win the elimination round.

Tai's victory came after Chou Tien-chen (周天成), another Taiwanese badminton athlete, beat Belgian Tan Yuhan 2-0 to advance to the men's singles round of 16 in Rio on the same day. Chou has also been viewed as another gold medal hopeful for Taiwan.

In Taiwan, Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu (陳菊) Friday praised Tai, who is a resident of the southern Taiwanese city, for the confidence she displayed as she took on her Russian competitor in the match.

Since Tai spent only about 30 minutes to complete the straight sets victory over Perminova, the Kaohsiung mayor said that the Taiwanese athlete appeared confident and in control of the situation throughout the match.

The mayor was impressed by Tai's ability to utilize her powerful smashes during the match, saying that her agile movement and mature skills deserved admiration. Chen said she wished Tai more good performances in Rio down the road

Chen made the comments as she was visiting Tai's family Friday morning to watch the televised game in which the Taiwanese athlete scored a victory to advance to the Olympics round of 16.

Chen and Tai's grandmother, father and mother stared transfixed at the live TV broadcast, while eating rice balls, which are the badminton player's favorite food. The rice ball vendor made rice balls with fried eggs for the occasion, the young athlete's favorite flavor, hoping the treats would give Tai good luck, and indeed they did.

Tai Nan-kai (戴楠凱), Tai's father, said that his daughter learned many badminton techniques from his badminton-playing friends and the young Tai has the ability to integrate the techniques of others to strengthen her own skills over time.

Citing foreign badminton critics, Tai's father said that the young Tai has been described as a "badminton magician" and praised the athlete for her "artful skills" in playing the sport.

Her father said that he had a phone conversation with his daughter Sunday, asking her about how she has adjusted herself so far at the Rio Olympics. He said that he has tried his best not to give his daughter any psychological pressure in a bid not to affect her performance.

Taiwan has won three medals at the Rio Olympics so far. It has won a gold and a bronze medal in women's weightlifting and a bronze medal in the women's team event in archery.

(By Wang Shu-fen and Frances Huang)