BADMINTON

Malaysian badminton ace Lee Chong Wei earns bragging rights over Chinese rivals for Rio Olympics

Former world number one topples China’s Chen Long in the men’s final at the Asia Championships in Wuhan, after earlier beating Lin Dan in the semi-finals

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 01 May, 2016, 8:35pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 01 May, 2016, 8:35pm

Malaysian ace Lee Chong Wei gained a psychological edge over his Chinese rivals for the Rio Olympics by winning the men’s final at the Asia Championships in Wuhan on Sunday.

The Olympic Games is a totally different story
Malaysia’s Lee Chong Wei

The former world number one overcame China’s Lin Dan, the two-time defending Olympic champion, in the semi-finals before toppling top seed Chen Long, also from China, in the final.

The 2-1 victory (21-17, 15-21, 21-13) is also Lee’s fourth consecutive win over Chen, the current world number one, with the previous one in the Malaysia Open final just last month. He also beat both Lin and Chen in the 2015 China Open before clinching the title.

Lee also brought his winning record against Chen to 13-12 since they first clashed in 2009.

The 33-year-old Malaysian star shuttler, however, played down the victory.

“This is only the championship of one tournament and not my ultimate target,” said Lee after clinching only his second Asian title since his first one in 2006. “Even if I lost here, I can still come back next year for the same tournament, but it won’t be the same if I lose in Rio.”

“I have beaten both Lin and Chen in Wuhan but it doesn’t mean I can repeat the same result in Rio. The Olympic Games is a totally different story.”

In the women’s singles, China’s Wang Yihan defeated teammate Li Xuerui 21-14, 13-21, 21-16 in an hour, to claim her third Asian title.

In the women’s doubles, Naoko Fukuman and Kurumi Yonao of Japan, who beat their Indonesian opponents in the semi-finals in an epic battle over two hours and 41 minutes, failed to book their place at the Rio Games after losing 2-0 to compatriots Misaki Matsutomo and Ayaka Takahashi in the final.