Lin tops Badminton Battle of the 4 Heavenly Kings

On the very auspicious day of 11/11/11, the 4 kings descended upon a city in China called Dongguan. The purpose? To compete in a mini-all-star exhibition tournament hosted by Li […]

On the very auspicious day of 11/11/11, the 4 kings descended upon a city in China called Dongguan. The purpose? To compete in a mini-all-star tournament hosted by Li Yong Bo, featuring the 4 of them battling it out for a top prize of one million yuan and even the runner-up and losing semi-finalists walking off with sizeable sums.

By Kira Rin / Dongguan.  Photos: Badmintonphoto (archives)

In this era of badminton, the top singles spots have been dominated by the 4 “kings”, all current or former world #1’s.

Taufik Hidayat of Indonesia
Peter Gade of Denmark
of China
Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia, the present world no. 1

The semi-finals kicked off on Friday at 2pm Beijing time.  First up was Lin Dan vs. Taufik Hidayat.  Two of Taufik’s most famous wins – the 2005 World Championships and the 2006 Asian Games – came at the expense of Lin Dan, who was the reigning world #1 on both occasions.

However, Lin Dan showed clearly the form that has earned him the most recent Olympic gold and World Championship title, outclassing Taufik 21-13 in the first game.  Taufik managed to get into the second game, pushing for control at his favourite spot – in front of the net – until Lin Dan finally pulled away to take it 21-18.

Next up was Lee Chong Wei vs. Peter Gade.  Lee Chong Wei showed off his trademark accuracy, landing shot after shot close to or on the line and managed to pull away 21 – 12.  Similiarly, in the second game, Lee again played an accuracy game and got out to a comfortable lead.

Up 20-13, Lee Chong Wei then committed many unforced errors and soon became the game became a match of Gade’s offence against Lee Chong Wei’s defence.  Gade managed to pull off his tricks and even gave the audience a good laugh over a missed shot.  However, Lee Chong Wei had the last laugh, hitting a good clear to the back, earning the game and match 21-18.

This left the Lee Chong Wei – Lin Dan final at 7:40PM Beijing time.  Would it be a repeat of their epic match at the world championships?  In the first game, both players started out testing each other. It was a classic singles game, each player matching accuracy with accuracy, seeing who could keep the shuttle in as long as possible and seeking possible attack opportunities.  Once past the 11-point interval, Lin Dan upped the pace, forcing Lee Chong Wei to respond in kind. Both sides furiously attacked for points, and Lin Dan narrowly escaped with the 21-19 edge.

In the second game, the two players maintained their pace and play, Lee playing a quick deceptive game and Lin smashing hard. Lee Chong Wei was able to stay ahead at 11-10, relying on his excellent defence and forcing Lin Dan down to the floor.  Feeling uneasy with such narrow leads, Lin Dan made many unforced errors, smashing straight into the net.  That, coupled with excellent retrieval and some well-placed shots let Lee Chong Wei stroll off with the second game 21-12.

On to the third and final game, Lin Dan placed shots to force opportunities for him to smash and force errors from Lee Chong Wei and this netted him an 11-6 lead to force the end change.  The Malaysian World #1 then took the unusual step of emulating Lin Dan’s smashes. These, combined with his highly accurate placement, managed to bring the game to 20-all.

Ironically, while Lee Chong Wei was playing a Lin Dan-like offensive style, Lin Dan pulled off the game 22-20 with his own take on Lee Chong Wei’s placement style.

Final results


Lin Dan bt Taufik Hidayat 21-13, 21-18
Lee Chong Wei bt Peter Gade 21-12, 21-18

Lin Dan bt Lee Chong Wei 21-19, 12-21, 22-20

About Kira Rin