Sports\Team China

'Super Dan' remains man to beat

China Daily | Updated: 2017-09-01 09:26

TIANJIN - Chinese ace Lin Dan is looking to enhance his legendary status by fighting for a fourth consecutive men's singles gold medal at the National Games.

The badminton competition in Tianjin started on Wednesday, just three days after Lin's World Championships loss to Denmark's Viktor Axelsen.

Nicknamed 'Super Dan', the 33-year-old Lin, widely regarded as the greatest singles player of all time, had to settle for silver after losing 20-22, 16-21 to Axelsen in the Glasgow final. But the two-time Olympic gold medalist and five-time world champion proved his enduring mettle by making his seventh World Championship final.

Lin has always been dominant at the National Games since his first appearance in 2001, winning gold medals in 2005, 2009 and 2013. Playing for Team Beijing, he won his opening match in the team competition on Wednesday. The singles event starts on Monday.

Many people expected Lin to retire after last summer's Rio Olympics, where he surrendered his title and lost the bronze medal match to Axelsen, but at this year's Malaysia Open he toppled 11-time Malaysian champion Lee Chong Wei to claim his first title in Lee's homeland.

"I will be 34 this year. I cannot see any other player who has made the World Championships final at my age. I'm in good condition and I'm happy with my campaign," Lin said, addressing skeptics who have questioned his physical condition.

He also dismissed rumors of his retirement, saying: "I will play in the Chinese National Games and then the Japan Open. I have shown I am still strong enough physically."

The National Games is a fierce battlefield. Besides Lin, Rio Olympic gold medalists Chen Long, Fu Haifeng and Zhang Nan, newly-crowned world champions Chen Qingchen and Jia Yifan and other shuttlers who have recently retired from international competition, such as Wang Yihan and Wang Shixian, will represent their home provinces or municipalities in China's premier sporting event.


(China Daily 09/01/2017 page22)

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