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Malaysia's Chong Wei falls to Lin Dan in badminton final
Publication Date : 06-08-2012
Malaysia's Lee Chong Wei came agonisingly close to winning the gold but the Wembley curse ensured that China’s Lin Dan once again ruled the roost.
Chong Wei had hoped to make history as the first Malaysian to win an Olympic gold but it was Lin Dan and China who wrote themselves into the record books. Lin Dan as the first man to win the Olympic crown twice while China made an unprecedented sweep of all five titles at stake.
It was more agony for Chong Wei, who had to play second fiddle to Lin Dan yet again, losing 21-15, 10-21, 19-21 in a 79-minute thriller.
Lin Dan had also denied the Malaysian in the World Championship title at the same venue last year.
Chong Wei’s hope of laying to rest the Wembley demons will have to wait a while longer but there will be no Olympic redemption as London 2012 was his last Games.
And it wasn’t from want of trying. Chong Wei had looked set to finally end the Lin Dan hoodoo when he to raced to victory in the first game.
But in the end, Lin Dan’s staying power and mastery made all the difference as Chong Wei sank to the court in tears. He had finished second best again having lost to the Chinese ace in Beijing four years ago.
Being Malaysia’s only double Olympic medal winner was small consolation as Chong Wei had been determined to deliver the gold.
Chong Wei later apologised to Malaysians for his failure.
“I tried really hard and am sorry not to have won. I played better than I did in Beijing or the World Championships but it seems that I’m destined to play bridesmaid to Lin Dan.
“I’m sorry for not getting the gold for the people of Malaysia,” he said.
Lin Dan said it had been a lot harder winning this time.
“A lot of sacrifice and hard work went into this. Chong Wei is a worthy opponent and I have a lot of respect for him,” he said.
“I look forward to resuming my rivalry with him. We will meet again in a league competition in China at the end of the month.”
Chong Wei said this was to have been his last Olympics although he intended to carry on for the moment.
“I plan to go on until the 2014 Asian Games. I also intend to win the World Championship and Commonwealth Games before calling it a day,” he said.
Chong Wei, who had almost missed the Games because of the ankle injury, faded a little from the middle of the second game, allowing Lin Dan’s magnificent range of strokes to flourish.
When Chong Wei’s final shot dropped long, Lin Dan, often described as the best player the game has seen, sprinted round the stadium, ripped off his shirt and wept in celebration, saluting the crowd as he held the Chinese flag.
Chong Wei cut an inconsolable figure as he sat alone on the empty court.
Neither is likely to play another Olympics. As a farewell to the Games, the final provided almost everything that could have been hoped for.