LONDON - The Associated Press
Lin Dan becomes the first man to retain the Olympic title in badminton. REUTERS photo
Lin Dan of China
became the first man to retain the Olympic badminton title after beating Malaysian rival Lee Chong Wei in a final that lived up to the hype yesterday.
Lin, unquestionably the greatest player ever with his sixth Olympic and world title, won 15-21, 21-10, 21-19 to repeat his victory over Chong Wei in the Beijing Games final.
When Chong Wei’s final shot landed long, Lin sprinted around Wembley Arena until he was tackled by his coaches. He didn’t rip off his shirt as he did in Beijing, but he threw it into the crowd.
Chong Wei slumped to the court, his hopes of winning Malaysia’s first-ever Olympic gold ruined again. But of Malaysia’s three silver medals, he now owns two of them as their most successful Olympian.
Chong Wei walked into the arena to a decidedly warmer reception than he received in Beijing, where he admitted he choked in the final.
What the final, expected to be the pair’s last Olympic appearance, meant to them was soon apparent, with fist pumps early for points won, and grimaces for points lost.
Some of the rallies were eye-popping. A Chong Wei crosscourt flick at the net over Lin’s shoulder sent Lin scampering back. He scooped the shuttle over from laces-high and eventually won with a jump smash. But he had trouble with his range, sending easy shots long, and yet another error gave Chong Wei the first game.
Chen Long, won the bronze medal beating Lee Hyun-il of South Korea 21-15, 15-21, 21-15.