ASIAN GAMES Day 8 – Gold medal rematch comes a day early

The Guangzhou gold and silver medallists Lin Dan and Lee Chong Wei will meet a day early in a much anticipated semi-final at the Incheon Asian Games as Lin’s team […]

The Guangzhou gold and silver medallists Lin Dan and Lee Chong Wei will meet a day early in a much anticipated semi-final at the Incheon as Lin’s team will attempt to book 3 all-China finals.

Story and photos by Don Hearn, Badzine Correspondent live in Incheon

While Day 8 at the 2014 Incheon Asian Games began with the possibility of there being five different gold medallists, Team China quickly stepped up the march to its own goal of three all-China finals.  What’s more the day ended with a high probability of just that: total domination of the three events that the Chinese dynasty had not already been excluded from.

As usual, one of the most potent obstacles to Chinese domination is Lee Chong Wei (pictured).  However, Lee struggled with feisty Vietnamese veteran Nguyen Tien Minh.  The world #1 was one of several shuttlers on Saturday whose opening game jitters could not be laid at the feet of the tailwind as he let Nguyen get the better of him even from the ‘bad end’.

Lee got it back, though, and while he allowed Nguyen to erase a 17-13 lead near the end of the deciding game, the Malaysian finally closed it out after 75 minutes of play.

“I didn’t play so well today,” said Lee Chong Wei after the match.  “The first game was point for point and he won 23-21 so I thought I’d just try in the second game.

“I think both of us were already very tired in that first game and I just tried to become very fast in that second game.

“All the players have played me many times because it’s just the same as in the Open tournaments.  I just didn’t control in the first game and lost it so I tried hard in the second game.”

With Lin Dan just taking to the court to begin dispatching Japan’s Tago Kenichi, the idea of a repeat of the Guangzhou final at Sunday’s semi-final stage was a prediction Lee Chong Wei refused to make: “I still don’t know who I’m playing in the next match so I am not going to comment on that.  I’m just going to try to prepare myself.”

Meanwhile, both Lin Dan (pictured) and Chen Long enjoyed rather one-sided first games before being troubled slightly more in the second.  Both one in straight games but Chen’s -which came at the expense of Son Wan Ho, who had beaten the World Champion in the team event – was the one that broke the most hearts in the Incheon crowd.

Speaking of broken hearts, Bae Yeon Ju put up a valiant effort in her third game against former World Champion Wang Yihan (pictured) but just could not close the gap and lost to the world #3 for the first time in a semi-final.  Wang, whose first title on Korean soil was just a few kilometres south of the Asian Games venue, is riding high after back-to-back wins over Saina Nehwal and Bae and should be primed for the second Olympic final rematch scheduled for Sunday.

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Don Hearn

About Don Hearn

Don Hearn is an Editor and Correspondent who hails from a badminton-loving town in rural Canada. He joined the Badzine team in 2006 to provide coverage of the Korean badminton scene and is committed to helping Badzine to promote badminton to the place it deserves as a global sport. Contact him at: don @