WORLDS 2014 Finals – Carolina Marin is the new World Champion!

Carolina Marin took centre stage to prove that fairy tales do come true.  She held her ground against a seemingly unbreakable wall, Olympic champion Li Xuerui and with the full […]

Carolina Marin took centre stage to prove that fairy tales do come true.  She held her ground against a seemingly unbreakable wall, Olympic champion Li Xuerui and with the full support of the crowd, accomplished what no other European has done in 15 years, be crowned as the 2014 women’s singles World Champion.  It still was not meant to be for Lee Chong Wei, though, as Chen Long snatched a 7th straight men’s singles title for China, yet again breaking the hearts of Malaysian fans.

By Emzi Regala, live from Copenhagen. Photos: Badmintonphoto (live)

It looked as if Li Xuerui would not be denied gold this time as she opened the match strongly, leading all the way in the first game.  Marin, however, matched the Chinese world#1 in physicality and speed and several times would catch Li too late to get behind the shuttle and the young Spaniard reversed the result in the second game.

“Carolina, ¡ vamos !” cheers from the Danish crowd lifted Carolina Marin to provide her the extra energy and guts overtake the lead in the latter part of the final and deciding game.  As Marin registered the final point, she broke down in tears of joy as the crowd got to their feet to celebrate the crowning of a new World Champion.

“In the first game, Li Xuerui was playing well,” said Marin afterward.   “I felt the rallies were too long. Before the second game, my coach told me that if I wanted the gold medal, I would have to fight till the end. So I fought.

“I focused on the game plan at every point. I tried to keep Li Xuerui away from the net as she is really good in front of the net. I pushed her to the back and I knew that she was also tired.

“3-4 days ago, I felt really negative about having to play in the . However, as I started playing my first few games, I started to feel more confident. When I reached the semi-finals, I then thought that my goal in this tournament was to win a medal. And I don’t want the bronze or the silver medal. I want the gold medal. So I fought for it,” said Marin, who now holds both the European and world women’s singles crown.

“Losing to two foreign players two years in a row is definitely not good,” Li Xuerui said about her loss.  “Carolina was really aggressive in the game, and her pace was really fast. However for my part, when the opportunities did come for me to score a point, I did not grab it.”

Badminton aficionados assumed that with the absence of Lin Dan, world #1 Lee Chong Wei would finally have his hands on the gold medal.  He increased the pace and continuously attacked Chen Long, but the 25-year-old had other things on his mind.  He craved a chance to prove that he is indeed a worthy successor of the great Super Dan, and that meant the ultimate mission of bringing the gold back home.  The world #2 did so and once again, in three consecutive years, Lee Chong Wei is second best behind a Chinese champion.

“I don’t know what I’m feeling right now. I have tried my very best,” said Lee Chong Wei after the match.  “During the match, whenever I was trailing behind, I just told myself not to give up at every single point.  I think I played really safe game today as well.

“I will keep trying for the World Championships title until I retire. I would like to say sorry to all my fans and supporters since I am not able to give a very big present to my country.    However, I will keep trying and I hope that they will continue to support me until I retire,” added the Malaysian, ever-gracious in defeat.

“I think the main difference in today’s game is in the mindset.  It was a really close game so I think luck also plays a part in this,” said a very ecstatic Chen Long.  “Although this is my third medal in Denmark, this is my first World Championship title, so I’m really very happy. I would like to thank Li Yongbo since he has given me a lot of attention during training.  At the moment, Lee Chong Wei is still world #1, so I would like to focus on beating him and there are still a lot of things that I can learn from him.”

Final results
WD: Tian Qing / Zhao Yunlei (CHN) [5] beat Wang Xiaoli / Yu Yang (CHN) [4]  21-19, 21-15
MD: Ko Sung Hyun / Shin Baek Cheol (KOR) [12] beat Lee Yong Dae / Yoo Yeon Seong (KOR) [2]  22-20, 21-23, 21-18
WS: Carolina Marin (ESP) [9] beat Li Xuerui (CHN) [1]  17-21, 21-17, 21-18
MS: Chen Long (CHN) [2] beat Lee Chong Wei (MAS) [1]  21-19, 21-19
XD: Zhang Nan / Zhao Yunlei (CHN) [1] beat Xu Chen / Ma Jin (CHN) [2] 21-12, 21-23, 21-13

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About Emzi Regala