Lee eventually beats Lin, Marin ends Asian monopoly at Rio Olympics

Source:Xinhua Published: 2016/8/20 7:07:34 Last Updated: 2016/8/20 12:01:55

Badminton's long time rivals Lin Dan and Lee Chong Wei Friday presented one last Olympic showdown between them, while Carolina Marin from Spain became the first women's non-Asian winner of the Olympics in Rio.

Malaysian Lee eventually overcame two-time Olympic gold medalist Chinese Lin 15-21, 21-11, 22-20 to set up a final showdown against Lin's teammate Chen Long, a two-time world champion, who claimed an easy victory over Denmark's Viktor Axelsen 21-14, 21-15.

Later at the end of the competition day of badminton, Fu Haifeng and Zhang Nan awarded China the first badminton gold medal at the Rio Olympic Games by beating Malaysia's Goh V Shem and Tan Wee Kiong 16-21, 21-11, 23-21.

Locked at one game each with the two pairs going into the third, the Malaysian wasted two match points as first Tan served short before Goh put his own serve into the net. Tan then hit long to hand match point to China before Goh sliced the shuttle out.

In the women's showpiece, Marin came from a game down to beat Pusarla V. Sindhu from India 19-21, 21-12 and 21-15 in a tense final.

The determined Spaniard powered ahead early in the first game before Sindhu rattled off five points in succession to steal it from 16-19 down. She recovered her composure to make short work of the second game before opening up a sizeable lead early in the decider, holding out for 21-15.

Nozomi Okuhara from Japan won the bronze medal of women's singles after reigning champion Li Xuerui of China retired from the match due to the injury.

Earlier, Lin and Lee exchanged jerseys and hugged each other following their close men's singles semifinals, after 16 years of being both rivals and friends.

As a seasoned veteran, Lin is the one who best understands Lee's efforts and wished him good luck.

"I hope he can have a good performance tomorrow in the final. As we become older, both of us have to train really really hard to stay at the level we are now," said Lin, 32.

China's "Super Dan" won record two consecutive Olympic gold medals at the Beijing and London Olympic Games, twice beating Malaysian Lee in the finals to mount the top of the podium.

This time in Rio, similar history had seemed to repeat itself when Lin sailed to a first set win 21-15 with ease in the semifinals. However, Lee fought back in the second and took the match to the decisive third set.

The two players went point for point until Lee managed to pull away at 20-17 but Lin saved triple match points to level the score at 20-20. Lee eventually withstood the pressure by taking the final two points to claim the long-awaited victory.

"I never beat Lin Dan at the important world competitions such as Olympics and World Championships," said Lee, "When I finally won the match, I thanks the god. It's destiny."

"I feel proud for both of us. We can still compete together with young shuttlers at the age of 33. This is our fourth Olympics. It's an honor to represent my country."

Posted in: Olympics

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