Lin Dan wins first men's team gold at National Games

Source:Xinhua Published: 2017/9/4 0:33:30

Badminton star Lin Dan led Beijing to win their first men's team gold medal by claiming a hard-fought 3-2 victory over reigning champions Fujian, spearheaded by Rio Olympic champion Chen Long, in the final of the 13th Chinese National Games here on Sunday.

Lin, regarded as the greatest singles player of all time, is a two-time Olympic and five-time world champion. He has also won the men's singles gold medal for three consecutive times at the National Games, billed as China's mini Olympics and held every four years.

However, Lin never took the men's team gold medal at the Games. Four years ago, he led the People's Liberation Army team to claim their first-ever men's team bronze medal. This time, he joined in Team Beijing and eventually made the breakthrough, making his successful career even more complete.

Lin and Chen didn't play against each other as both sides tried to maximize their capability in the final. The 25-year-old Qiao Bin withstood the pressure in the decisive final match to outclass Tian Houwei and secure the crown for Beijing.

In the opening match, Chen defeated former national teammate Du Pengyu 21-17, 21-17, scoring the first point for Fujian.

"I performed better and better. Right after the World Championships, I have to overcome the jet leg. And the National Games is also an important competition, I have to deal with the physical and psychological effects," said Chen.

Chen was outplayed by Denmark's Viktor Axelsen at the World Championships last week. Then he and his Chinese teammates came back directly from Glasgow, Scotland to Tianjin, 140 kilometers southeast of Beijing, the host city of the 13th Games.

Olympic men's and mixed doubles gold medalist Zhan Nan, pairing with men's doubles world No. 2 Liu Yuchen, met little resistance from Fujian's Hong Wei and He Jiting by pulling one point back for Beijing 21-18, 21-13.

Lin proved too strong for Fujian's young player Zhang Qi, winning the third match in straight sets 21-10, 21-6.

"Team's event is different from singles as every match is related to the next match. Today my opponent is not so strong, but I was very focused on the court, hoping to provide a better situation for my teammates," said Lin.

Newly-crowned men's doubles world champion Liu Cheng and his partner Liu Xiaolong then leveled the score 2-2 by beating Beijing's Yu Xiaoyu and Qi Shuangshuang.

The decisive match saw the closest competition of the day between Tian Houwei of Fujian and Qiao Bin of Beijing, both at 25 and from the national team.

Tian, who defeated Malaysia's Lee Chong Wei in 2013 Australia Open, had a better start but Qiao gradually found his rhythm and took the first set 21-19, and kept the momentum to wrap up the final 21-16.

Posted in: EYE ON THE BALL

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