Lee Chong Wei against Lin Dan was the perfect final for the final match of the Asian Games, with the Malaysian’s last hope for gold lying with the world #1. China had secured the first two golds in the women’s singles and women’s doubles and looked for gold number 3 and 4 on the last day of the Badminton.
Tian and Zhao won China’s first gold on Friday evening, defeating Wang and Yu in three games to ensure a gold and silver for China in the opening final. Wang Shixian defeated Wang Xin in the women’s singles final in two games after an a couple of impressive wins over Ai Goto and Yip Pui Yin before defeating her Chinese team mate. Wang Xin was also in excellent form over the week, especially in her 21-7, 21-15 win over Eriko Hirose in the semi final.
Malaysia’s first chance at gold came in the men’s doubles final with Koo and Tan taking on Indonesia’s Kido and Setiawan. The Indonesian pair had scrapped their way into the final, with every one of their games going to three games to reach the final. Koo and Tan had survived their own three game matchup against Hirata and Hashimoto in the quarter finals. The final, unsurprisingly went to three games and the experts of three game victories, Kido and Setiawan took gold in three tight games, winning 16-21, 26-24, 21-19.
Lee Hyo Jung won another major title, this time without Lee Yong Dae as her mixed doubles partner. This time, it was Shin Baek Cheol in the mixed doubles who defeated Zhang and Zhao in an excellent two game victory as China failed to win gold number 3 at the games.
However, Lin Dan would secure gold number 3 for China. After an impressive run to the final, he would meet world #1 Lee Chong Wei who had to battle through two matches that went the full distance, including a semi final against Chen Jin. Lin Dan secured the opening game 21-13 before Lee Chong Wei fought back to win the second game, 21-15. However, it was the Lin Dan of old that showed up in the deciding game to secure his first Asian Games gold medal, taking the final game 21-10 to win China’s 3rd individual gold of the games.
The three-month absence of Super Series badminton ends this week when the worlds best converge in Singapore for the 5th Super Series event of 2010. With the World Championships just three months away, the top players will be looking to play their way into winning form before Paris in late August.
The draw however is without a large Chinese attendance, with the squad likely in a 3-month training camp ahead of the World Championships. The draw is still laden with world-class players such as #1 seed Lee Chong Wei in the men’s singles. The 2010 All England Champion plays Brice Leverdez of France in his opening match. The European threat will come from #2 seed, Peter Gade. The current European champions starts with a tough match against Andre Tedjono of Indonesia. Kenichi Tago’s fantastic 2010 has been rewarded with the Japanese player earning the #8 this week; he begins with a first round match against Hsieh Yu Hsing of Chinese Taipei.
Saina Nehwal is the #1 seed in the women’s singles, with the Indian beginning his campaign against Wong Mew Choo of Malaysia. Tine Rasmussen is the #2 seed, as she returns to a full schedule after missing most of the 2009 with injury. She begins her campaign against Aditl Mutatkar of India. The sole “big name” Chinese representative is the 2009 World Champion, Lu Lan. The Chinese #4 seed begins her campaign against one of the stars of the Thomas Cup for Japan, Ai Goto.
The men’s doubles is without the Chinese powerhouses of Cai and Fu as well as Lee Yong Dae but the draw is still packed with excellent players. The #1 seeds are Koo and Tan who begin their week against Kim and Shin of Korea. Kido and Setiawan are seeded 2 and begin against the talented Japanese duo of Hayakawa and Kazuno, but in their previous meeting in the Thomas Cup, Kido and Setiawan demolished the duo 21-11, 21-9. The #3 and #4 seeds are battling for their own personal reasons, to be Denmark’s #1 partnership. Boe and Mogensen are the #3 seeds this week and begin against Ellis and Mills of England; whilst the #4 seeded Paaske and Rasmussen take on the new Chinese pair of Liu and Qiu. Qiu reached the Asian Championship Semi Final in the mixed with partner Tian Qing.
The mixed doubles is littered with potential winners, from the top seeded Widianto and Natsir to the new Korean pair of Shin and Lee seeded 7. The current world champions Laybourn and Rytter Juhl are also in the draw seeded #2. Widianto and Natsir begin against Delbo Larsen and Schjott-Kristiensen of Denmark in round 1. The #8 seeded Wallwork and Robertson could have an all-English match in Round 2 against White and Blair if both come through their opening matches.