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China sweeps board in Olympic badminton

08-06-2012 04:06 BJT Special Report:2012 London Olympic Games |

By Sportswriters Bai Xu and Ji Ye

LONDON, Aug. 5 (Xinhua) -- Chinese shuttlers, spearheaded by Lin Dan, won two more Olympic events on Sunday afternoon, completing a clean sweep of five gold medals.

In a match that attracted most attention started between Lin Dan and Lee Chong Wei from Malaysia, in which "Super Dan" beat his arch-rival 2-1 to win the men's singles final in the Wembley Arena, becoming the first shuttler to have defended the Olympic title in the event.

The word "heart-stirring" was not enough to describe how fierce the competition was, as they were both best shuttlers in an era, topping the world rankings alternatively.

Lin didn't seem to be in form in the first game, lashing the shuttlecock out of the court for at least nine times and delivering at least five returns into the net.

Lee, the No. 1 seed, changed his direction abruptly, posing threats to the Beijing Olympic champion with diagonal smashes. With a lapse of Lin, the set concluded 15-21.

The beginning of the second game saw the duo locked in a tug of war, before Lin began pulling ahead after a long exchange and finished the set quickly with a drop shot 21-10.

Atmosphere became strained in the decider, when shots from both players became faster and the pair tumbled sometimes for a retrieval. Even the umpire began making mistakes and corrected after being challenged by Lin.

Their scores tied from 1-1 to 19-19. Crowd cheered and waved national flags. But while they were playing, everyone was holding breath, with only sound of the shuttlecock hitting the racket. At this time each tiny lapse could be fatal.

Lee broke the ice first by making a mistake to send the bird into the net, and then struck the last shot out of the court. 21-19. The audience seethed with excitement.

The overjoyed Lin rushed around the arena for celebration and threw his vest to the audience, while his rival sat on the court sobbing. Then the gold medalist returned to hug Lee. The song, We Are the Champions, resonated in the arena.

"I think this medal is a recognition of my efforts in the past four years," Lin said. "After the Beijing Olympics, I had to work harder to defend my title, as more people wanted to beat me."

Commenting on the match just now, the 29-year-old player said that in the first game he was playing before the wind and wasn't as active as Lee. When he was in the more favorable position against the wind, he seized the chances.

When they were tied 19-19 before the ending, "I wasn't thinking too much," he said. "I pinned my hope on my rival's lapse."

The disappointed Lee Chong Wei said after the match, "he made less mistakes than me."

With an ankle injury, he was so eager to win the gold medal, which would have been the first gold for Malaysia. "But I lost. It was very hard to beat Lin," he said. "There is just one Lin Dan in the world and he is great."

China's badminton head coach Li Yongbo felt sorry for Lee Chong Wei. "To be frank, it was not easy for him, and the loss was such a pity," he said. "He was born in a wrong time. Without Lin Dan, he has been the champion already. They are equally outstanding."


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