Chen claims gold as Chong Wei falls short

Two-time World Champion Chen Long claimed the gold medal for China in the men’s badminton final after beating Lee Chong Wei in straight games at the Riocentro on Saturday.

Chong Wei, who had twice lost to another Chinese player, Lin Dan, in the Olympic final, had hoped to win Malaysia first Olympic gold medal this time around, but fell short on the day against Chen, with the 27-year-old winning 21-18, 21-18.

It was Chen who raced out of the proverbial blocks, as the World Champion opened up a 4-0 lead in the blink of an eye.

It didn’t take Chong Wei long to get into the match, though, and the Malaysian soon levelled at 5-5.

For the next few minutes, the two-time silver medalist had the better of proceedings and eeked out a handy lead at 13-9.

From here, the bronze medalist in London four years ago set the tempo of the match and by the time the score reached 16-all, Chong Wei’s defence couldn’t hold much longer.

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Over the next few minutes, the Malaysian struggled to make much of an impact on Chen’s solid all-round game conceded the opener.

Game two followed much the same pattern initially, with Chen racing to a 4-1 lead before Chong Wei leveled at 5-5.

Once again it was the Malaysian who made the first move, and shortly afterwards opened up a 8-5 advantage.

Chen, though, is a wily customer and after winning the next six points found himself in a healthy position at 11-8.

Chong Wei managed to stop the rot with a few points of his own, but his Chinese opponent continued to apply the pressure and moments later was up 15-11 and with the title in sight.

The world number one had to call on all his resolve to stay in the match, but some deft net play soon brought him back to within one point at 16-15.

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Chen wasn’t to be halted so easily and after a few power winners and remarkable agility in when on the back foot, gave himself four Championship points at 20-16.

Chong Wei, probably with the memories of losing at this stage twice before hung on manfully and saved the first two, but on the third time of asking Chen’s relentless assault paid dividends.

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