Badminton

Badminton: Ajay Jayaram battles into quarter-finals of US Open, Lin Dan knocked out

Ajay defeated Brazil’s Ygor Coelho 19-21, 21-12, 21-16 in the second round on Thursday.

India’s Ajay Jayaram played his second successive three-game match at the US Open Super 300 badminton tournament as he beat Brazil’s Ygor Coelho 19-21, 21-12, 21-16 in the second round on Thursday.

Ajay, who was ranked as high as 13th in the world in September last year before plummeting to his current placement of 132 because of a hamstring injury, was stretched by world No 368 Yun Kyu Lee for nearly an hour in the first round on Wednesday before winning 26-24, 17-21, 21-13.

The match against Coelho was relatively more straightforward. The first game was a tight one as both players went neck-and-neck right until the end before the Brazilian nicked it 21-19. However, the gruelling game seemed to have taken a toll on the world No 31 as he succumbed to a 12-21 loss in the second game.

The decider was again a keenly contested affair until the score was level at 14-14. From here, Ajay won four points in a row to make it 18-14 in his favour, and that was that. The 30-year-old won the game 21-16 to seal the match and a spot in the quarter-finals, where he will take on world No 70 Heo Kwang Hee of South Korea. Heo defeated third seed Brice Leverdez 23-21, 21-12 in the second round.

In the women’s singles, the returning Li Xuerui defeated world No 13 and second seed Sayaka Sato 22-20, 21-9 to reach the quarter-finals. The 2012 Olympic champion, currently ranked 141st in the world, has only recently returned to the circuit after tearing her anterior cruciate ligament during the 2016 Olympics.

Li’s first tournament on her return was the China Masters in April, which she went on to win. The 27-year-old then represented her country at the Uber Cup, where China lost in the semi-finals. The US Open is only her third tournament since returning to the circuit and she will next take on seventh seed Kim Hyo Min in the quarter-finals.

Earlier, on Wednesday, men’s singles top seed and two-time Olympic champion Lin Dan was shocked in the first round itself by another Korean, the world No 38 Lee Dong Keun, who took the opening game 21-13. Lin Dan was trailing 12-19 in the second game when he decided to retire.

Support our journalism by subscribing to Scroll+ here. We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
Sponsored Content BY 

Do you really need to use that plastic straw?

The hazards of single-use plastic items, and what to use instead.

In June 2018, a distressed whale in Thailand made headlines around the world. After an autopsy it’s cause of death was determined to be more than 80 plastic bags it had ingested. The pictures caused great concern and brought into focus the urgency of the fight against single-use plastic. This term refers to use-and-throw plastic products that are designed for one-time use, such as takeaway spoons and forks, polythene bags styrofoam cups etc. In its report on single-use plastics, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has described how single-use plastics have a far-reaching impact in the environment.

Dense quantity of plastic litter means sights such as the distressed whale in Thailand aren’t uncommon. Plastic products have been found in the airways and stomachs of hundreds of marine and land species. Plastic bags, especially, confuse turtles who mistake them for jellyfish - their food. They can even exacerbate health crises, such as a malarial outbreak, by clogging sewers and creating ideal conditions for vector-borne diseases to thrive. In 1988, poor drainage made worse by plastic clogging contributed to the devastating Bangladesh floods in which two-thirds of the country was submerged.

Plastic litter can, moreover, cause physiological harm. Burning plastic waste for cooking fuel and in open air pits releases harmful gases in the air, contributing to poor air quality especially in poorer countries where these practices are common. But plastic needn’t even be burned to cause physiological harm. The toxic chemical additives in the manufacturing process of plastics remain in animal tissue, which is then consumed by humans. These highly toxic and carcinogenic substances (benzene, styrene etc.) can cause damage to nervous systems, lungs and reproductive organs.

The European Commission recently released a list of top 10 single-use plastic items that it plans to ban in the near future. These items are ubiquitous as trash across the world’s beaches, even the pristine, seemingly untouched ones. Some of them, such as styrofoam cups, take up to a 1,000 years to photodegrade (the breakdown of substances by exposure to UV and infrared rays from sunlight), disintegrating into microplastics, another health hazard.

More than 60 countries have introduced levies and bans to discourage the use of single-use plastics. Morocco and Rwanda have emerged as inspiring success stories of such policies. Rwanda, in fact, is now among the cleanest countries on Earth. In India, Maharashtra became the 18th state to effect a ban on disposable plastic items in March 2018. Now India plans to replicate the decision on a national level, aiming to eliminate single-use plastics entirely by 2022. While government efforts are important to encourage industries to redesign their production methods, individuals too can take steps to minimise their consumption, and littering, of single-use plastics. Most of these actions are low on effort, but can cause a significant reduction in plastic waste in the environment, if the return of Olive Ridley turtles to a Mumbai beach are anything to go by.

To know more about the single-use plastics problem, visit Planet or Plastic portal, National Geographic’s multi-year effort to raise awareness about the global plastic trash crisis. From microplastics in cosmetics to haunting art on plastic pollution, Planet or Plastic is a comprehensive resource on the problem. You can take the pledge to reduce your use of single-use plastics, here.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of National Geographic, and not by the Scroll editorial team.