New Women’s Doubles champion Chen Qingchen performed magic all week on court at the YONEX All England 2019 - but it was her fast vanishing act during celebrations of her title win on Finals Day that intrigued fans both at Arena Birmingham and on worldwide TV.
The Chinese superstar cut short a champions lap of honour – a longstanding YONEX All England tradition - after lifting the trophy and dashed 60 yards across the arena floor to get away from the spotlight.
It was an unexpected, unscripted move from the 2017 world champion and one that left her partner Jia Yihan walking alone to take the plaudits. It also caused initial alarm bells amongst event organisers who were concerned about the welfare of the new champion.
But amazingly, it was later revealed that Qingchen’s move was one of pure selflessness and an act of genuine kindness that it has touched hearts.
Chen, no stranger to title success having won six titles from nine finals with Jia Yihan, left her own title celebrations behind so not to take the spotlight or attentions from her good friend Chen Yufei who was scheduled to be next on court in the women’s singles final.
Speaking through a source away from the media spotlight, Chen Qingchen told how her good friend was due on court to play the ‘most important match of her life’ and felt her own celebrations court side would be a distraction and that she did not want her joy to delay Chen Yufei’s entry to court after her preparations.
Chen added that she wanted to go and support her friend before completing her media obligations.
It proved worthy support with Chen Yufei marking a first ever career win in 12 attempts over two-time champion to claim the women’s singles title – a first in five years for China.
It also showed the spirit and togetherness in China’s latest era of badminton superstar. The young generation play with a smile on their face and with outward enjoyment; there is a collective bond that has, in the past, been rarely said of other more richly star studded squads playing under the red flag.
Photo credit: BadmintonPhoto