Asian Games 2010, 2010 Asian Games

Lin Dan of China celebrates after beating Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia during their men's singles final at the 16th Asian Games in Guangzhou. -Photo by AFP

GUANGZHOU: Olympic and three-time world champion Lin Dan captured the one major title to have eluded him on Sunday with a pulsating win over world number one Lee Chong Wei at the Asian Games.

But Chinese superstar Lin, who admitted this could be his last Asiad, was stretched into a third game before eventually dispatching his Malaysian rival 21-13, 15-21, 21-10.

In a wild, post-match celebration which brought the crowd to its feet, Lin tore off his bright yellow shirt and tossed it into the stands, causing a mass scramble among his screaming, adoring fans.

“Whether it is Lin Dan who won or lost, I think this is one of the best matches since the Asian Games began,” said Lin.

“Both of us played very well and very hard but I had the luck to win. Lee Chong Wei is a real athlete and we should respect him.

“This Asian Games could be my last so I’m very happy that at last I realised my dream and the expectations of my fans.”Lee said that a back injury meant he could not train to his full during the Games and that his lack of fitness was decisive.

“In the third game I couldn’t keep my stamina up, especially after last night’s long match,” said the Malaysian, who defeated Chen Jin 14-21, 21-15, 21-7 in the semis.

“I tried my best and although I’m disappointed, I’m happy with my overall performance.

“This maybe my last Asian Games and maybe it’s time to give the younger players a chance. I will prepare for the London 2012 Olympics though.

“Super Dan” unleashed a delicious trademark smash to pull ahead 9-4 in a tetchy first game.

Lin, 27, went into the interval 11-6 to the good and powered ahead from there, both players sweating profusely under the intense lights of the Tianhe Gymnasium.

The pair enjoyed a sumptuous rally at 12-9, the athletic Lee several times digging out a Lin smash inches from the floor before the Chinese master fired over a winner.

Lin continued to have the better of the first game, taking a 16-10 lead, but Lee sniffed a comeback at 16-11 when his delicate shot struck the top of the net and trickled over.

But the on-song Lin would not be denied for long, closing out the first game in 27 minutes after Lee fired into the net.

The 28-year-old Malaysian made a fast start to the second game, taking a 4-2 lead which soon became 8-4.
Lee was now in the groove, pulling away 19-13 as Lin floundered, the world’s top-rated player deservedly winning the second game 21-15.

It was the first game Lin had surrendered at the 2010 Asiad.

The Chinese then surged ahead 4-0 in the decider and when he stretched to 6-1, it the turning point.

Lin afterwards paid tribute to girlfriend, Beijing Olympic silver medallist Xie Xingfang, for inspiring him to gold, but again swatted away questions over an impending marriage.

“This is a very important issue but when I’ve made my decision I will tell everyone. I need to think about it very seriously,” he said.

Earlier, the South Korean pair of Shin Baek-Cheol and Lee Hyo-Jung won the mixed doubles final, defeating China’s Zhang Nan and Zhao Yunlei 21-19, 21-14. -AFP