Yearender China sports: Chinese badminton makes history but overshadowed by match-fixing scandal
Updated: 2012-12-25 11:44
Lin Dan kisses his bride Xie Xingfang at their wedding ceremony in the stadium of Beijing University of Technology in Beijing, Sept 23, 2012. [Photo/CFP]
BEIJING - It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Related: Success of Chinese shuttlers in the wake of match-throwing scandal
In the year of 2012, the Chinese badminton team won both Thomas & Uber Cups and made a clean sweep of Olympic gold medals for the first time, while their victory seemed to be overshadowed by a match-fixing scandal that rocked the nation.
Chinese head coach Li Yongbo said 2012 was a fruitful year for his team.
"We have better result than before, and we promote the sport worldwide through our efforts, but we also suffered some setbacks," he said.
The badminton powerhouse stamped their authority at the London Olympics, winning all the five gold medals for the first time since the sport was first introduced to the Olympics in 1992.
Lin Dan celebrates after defeating Malaysia's Lee Chong Wei 15-21, 21-10, 21-19 in the final of the Olympic badminton tournament at the Wembley Arena in London on Aug 5, 2012. [Photo by Cui Meng/chinadaily.com.cn]
Lin Dan has done what no other men's singles players have, winning back-to-back Olympic gold medals by taking an ecstatic triumph over Malaysia's Lee Chong Wei in the repeat of Beijing final four years ago.
Lin decided to skip all international events on the rest of 2012 calendar for a half-year rest, and he also held a romantic wedding ceremony with former world top women's player Xie Xingfang in September.
However Lin, dubbed "Super Dan", has denied any plans to retire next year and said he would consider going for a third Olympic title in 2016. Meanwhile, his Malaysian arch-rival Lee also doesn't mention any thoughts about hanging up the racket, meaning the duo's rivalry will probably remain the focal point of the sport.
Malaysia's Lee Chong Wei reacts at the awarding ceremony after loss to Lin Dan in the final of the Olympic badminton tournament at the Wembley Arena in London on Aug 5, 2012. [Photo by Cui Meng/chinadaily.com.cn]
Just like Lin, Chinese veteran partners Cai Yun and Fu Haifeng, silver medalists four years ago, also filled the gap for Chinese badminton as the pair won China the first men's doubles Olympic gold medal.
After 10 years together, they finally captured the Olympic gold medal they had been fighting for for so long.
Women's singles gold medal went to the bright new talent Li Xuerui. The dark horse made her name known after winning the prestigious All-England Open this March, and had been on a four-tournament winning streak before coming to London.
The Olympic champion continued her momentum and captured an astonishing eighth title in 2012 after winning the Badminton World Federation (BWF) World Superseries Finals. Li recorded 56 wins in 61 matches this year.
Tian Qing and Zhao Yunlei won in women's doubles and Zhang Nan and Zhao Yunlei claimed the mixed doubles.
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