ASIAN GAMES Finals – Super Dan is back!

The legendary Chinese badminton player Lin Dan signed his way back with a bang! Outclassing his main rival Lee Chong Wei in the semis of the Incheon Asian Games, he […]

The legendary Chinese badminton player Lin Dan signed his way back with a bang! Outclassing his main rival Lee Chong Wei in the semis of the Incheon , he went on to show his junior Chen Long why the world gave him a nickname befitting an out-of-this-world player. An hour later, Zhang Nan and Zhao Yunlei engraved a bit more their domination in mixed doubles after an easy win over Tontowi Ahmad and Lilyana Natsir.

By Tarek Hafi, Badzine Correspondent live in Incheon. Pictures: Don Hearn (live)

His quest to complete a collection of all the most prestigious titles might be over, but Lin Dan (pictured left) proved again his love for the game and his desire to win. In a thrilling battle of an hour and twenty-two minutes, the Chinese player proved he was back into the field, despite only being seen occasionally since the last Olympic Games.

Lin Dan has remained pretty discreet concerning his career plans in the last two years, but his win today proved he is not cameo-ing anymore: “I will play until my body allows me to play, so maybe until Tokyo 2020?” confessed Lin Dan in his post-match press conference.

Still, the road towards victory didn’t come without hurdles as Chen Long (pictured right) posed a fierce competition, taking the current Olympic champs to a rubber game. With Chen almost back level in the third, the former world number one paced up the game, grabbing his second Asian Games gold medal in a row.

“I can’t be happier to have won the gold here! Despite the difficult conditions in the hall, my compatriot and I showed a good match today to the audience and our fellow Chinese people, thus I should congratulate Chen Long,” commented Lin Dan.

The new World Champion Chen Long, meanwhile, did take it positively as a chance to improve as a player.  “I won the silver after giving all I had today, so I will come back to China and work harder to achieve better results in the future,” confessed the humble world number two.

Lin Dan is now set to resume his tournament quest, having now achieved a high enough world ranking to take on the Superseries.

Double doubles ‘triple crown’ for Zhao

Following on the same court, Zhang Nan and Zhao Yunlei (pictured left) were definitely not willing letting the gold medal go once again, four years after the Guangzhou 2010 Asian games where they stumbled against Shin Baek Cheol and Lee Hyo Jung.

Richer of an Olympic gold medal and another World Championship crown, the Chinese world number ones outplayed their Indonesian rivals Ahmad Tontowi and Lilyana Natsir in a straight games win. In spite of the good reactions from the former world champs Natsir and Tontowi in the opening game, nerves came as a surprise guest to disrupt the plan settled by the latter, who eventually failed to show any testing opposition to the Chinese.

“We performed very well until the semis but with no apparent reason we committed too many mistakes, mistakes that cannot be done against a world class pair. Thus, we obviously don’t feel satisfied by our performance today since we could have showed much better today.” commented Lilyana after her defeat.

The Chinese couple instead could hardly hide their joy, erasing the bitter loss four years before. “We are of course very delighted to have won today, but also happy to have changed the silver medal we won four years ago in a gold medal in 2014!” added the twenty-four year-old Zhang Nan.

During the press conference, it was pointed out that Zhao Yunlei is the first player to have accomplished, in two disciplines, the triumvirate of major badminton titles comprising the Asian Games, World Championships, and Olympic Games, something several players, including Lin Dan and her partner Zhang Nan have done in one discipline each.

“I think that I have been lucky to win all the titles that I have,” said a modest Zhao in response.  “As for my future goals, the main one is the 2016 Olympics in Rio.

Concluding the badminton competition in the Incheon 2014 Asian Games, the players are now all given another appointment four years later in Indonesia, declared a few days ago as the next host, for the 18th Asian Games.

Complete results from Day 10 can be found here

About Tarek Hafi