LONDON: Datuk Lee Chong Wei’s Olympics gold medal hopes have once again been dashed by China’s Lin Dan.
The Malaysian ace put up a brave fight but lost 21-15, 10-21, 19-21 to his arch nemesis in the men’s singles badminton final of the London Olympics at the Wembley Arena here on Sunday.
The first set was a close contest with neither player being able to pull ahead, with the score at 3-2, 5-5, and 9-8 before Chong Wei went into the first set breather 11-8 ahead.
The Malaysian then led 13-10, 16-11, and pulled ahead 19-13. Lin Dan, however, was not about to give in. He narrowed the score to 19-15 before Chong Wei sealed the set 21-15 in 26 minutes.
Chong Wei, however, was always on the back foot in the second set. Lin Dan was 11-7 ahead half way through the set before racing ahead 17-8 and 19-10 before winning 21-10 in 20 minutes to force the rubber.
The decider was a nail-biting affair. Both players gave it their all and the score line showed how evenly matched they were. Both were tied at 3-3, 5-5, 8-8 and 9-9 before Lin Dan went ahead 11-9 after 14 minutes.
It was again very close after that with Chong Wei clawing back to lead at 14-13 before Lin Dan drew level at 15-15.
Chong Wei then went ahead 17-16 and 19-18 before the Chinese ace drew level at 19-19. But this was as far as the Malaysian would go as Lin Dan sealed victory at 21-19 in 28 minutes.
This is the second time Chong Wei has lost to Lin Dan in the clash for the Olympics gold medal. In the men’s singles final in the 2008 Beijing Games, Chong Wei lost 12-21, 8-21 to the Chinese ace.
Chong Wei said he had tried his best against Lin Dan.
“I tried really hard and to come this far after two and half months of lay-off is good. I was better than when I played in Beijing or the World Championships. But it seems that I am destined to play bridesmaid again.
“I am sorry for not getting the gold for Malaysia,” he said.
Lin Dan said that it was a lot harder winning this time around.
“A lot of sacrifice and work has gone in the last four years. And today I have achieved it. Chong Wei is a worthy opponent and I have a lot of respect for him," he added.