Guangzhou, 11 August
Chinese superstar Lin Dan took the badminton world title for a fifth time on Sunday after his arch-rival Lee Chong Wei was stretchered off the court in the third game.
The current world number one from Malaysia dropped to his haunches at 16-19 down and tried to recover but had to retire from the match at 20-17 — leaving Lin, who is world and Olympic champion, to take the title 16-21, 21-13, 20-17.
Lee had been hoping to end a run of high-profile defeats at the hands of Lin — widely regarded as the game’s best-ever player — who beat him in the previous world title men’s singles final and in the two last Olympic finals.
Lin, 29, known as "Super Dan", was making his comeback at the tournament with a controversial wildcard place after a year on the sidelines to spend time with his family. The two badminton legends put on a brilliant display in the first set in front of a packed Tianhe gymnasium in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou.
Lin took an early lead, leaving the crowd gasping with an almost involuntary lightning reflex return at the net to go 5-3 up. The return was so quick that he hardly seemed to know about it himself. Lee got back on level terms but Lin got the better of a titanic rally to go into the break 11-10 up.
The two stayed neck and neck, showing off their best badminton — a nimble Lee leaping around the court and Lin moving fluidly often at full stretch to reach the Malaysian’s well-placed shots. Lee pulled ahead with Lin berating himself after putting a return long to go behind 14-18, and the Malaysian capitalised to take the first game 21-16.