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Bad boy leads China to badminton glory

other Updated: Aug 18, 2008 12:43 IST

AFP
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Bad boy Lin Dan led China to a gold bonanza in badminton, as the hosts won three out of the five titles up for grabs, equalling their tally in Athens four years ago.

Chinese coach Li Yongbo said he was satisfied with the haul despite the formidable team, who dominate the world rankings, gunning for a clean sweep but falling short in the men's and mixed doubles.

Lin, the star of the team and known as Super Dan to his legion of fans, kept his notorious fiery temper in check to clinch the men's singles crown over Malaysian second seed Lee Chong Wei with a superb display of power and skill.

The world number one and back-to-back world champion declared after Sunday's win that more was to come, with no plans for retirement.

"I have a lot more things to achieve besides the world championships and the Olympic Games," the 24-year-old Lin said.

China's veteran of the sport Zhang Ning played through injury to defend her Athens crown against teammate and world number one Xie Xingfang, the girlfriend of Lin Dan -- who are regarded in China as the golden couple.

Zhang broke down in tears after becoming the oldest player to win the title at 33, an achievement coach Li hailed as a miracle.

"It is really a miracle for Zhang Ning to retain the Olympic gold. Her entrance to the Beijing Olympic Games was even in doubt two months ago," Li told Chinese reporters.

"Maybe this is the beauty of the Olympiad."

While Li, who drills his charges with military precision, also applauded the women's doubles pair for their gold, he said some of his younger shuttlers had not lived up to expectations.