Hong Kong Badminton Open: Lee Chong Wei and Carolina Marin target Olympic gold after triumphs
Malaysian superstar and Spain's world champion aim for Rio after title victories at the Coliseum
Malaysia's Lee Chong Wei cemented his status as favourite for next year's Olympic Games, while world No 1 Carolina Marin staked her claim for gold after winning the men's and women's singles titles, respectively, at the Yonex-Sunrise Hong Kong Open yesterday.
Lee, a former world No 1, will contest his third Olympics at next year's Rio Games is in an ebullient mood after winning his third straight title since his return from an eight-month doping ban.
The Malaysian superstar defeated mainlander Tian Houwei 21-16, 21-15 in the final.
And Spaniard Marin says her greatest threat at the Olympics is herself after she completed a dominant victory in the US$350,000 tournament at the Coliseum.
Marin fought off a stirring comeback by Japan's Nozomi Okuhara to win 21-17, 18-21, 22-20 and take the women's crown - her fifth Superseries title out of 12 to go with a world championship.
Marin needed 84 gruelling minutes to overcome the feisty and diminutive Japanese player, who produced an amazing comeback in the third game, as she clawed back from 20-14 to force deuce.
But top seed Marin was able to hang on, sweeping both points in the tie breaker.
China have won the past four women's singles titles at the Olympic Games, but Marin said she was confident she had what it took to break that run.
"I only have myself to beat in the Olympic Games. There is no other player," said Marin, who also captured her second consecutive World Championships title in August. "If I can concentrate, I know I can win the Olympic Games.
"Maybe the Rio Games is a bit far away as my next target will be the Dubai Superseries finals in two weeks. I only get a one-day break after winning here and then I have to prepare for Dubai before starting in the Superseries again in March next year.
"I think it was a tough match. She had a good comeback at the end of the game, but I tried to just keep myself down and think positive things - that I can beat her," said Marin.
Lee, meanwhile, was delighted to have won again as he followed up on his China Open title victory in Fuzhou last week.
The Malaysian was ranked outside the world's top 180 at the start of the year, but Lee has surged back up to world number six.
"My target is to play my last Olympic Games in Rio and that's why I have worked so hard in the qualifications," said the 33-year-old.
"And I have gone through the most difficult period of winning sufficient qualification points.
"After all, it is not easy to maintain good form in a single sport for a span of 16 years.
"I won't target the world number one ranking again as I have occupied the top spot for six years."
WATCH: Highlights of Hong Kong Open finals
Lee, however, did not rule out the possibility of continuing to play on the circuit after the Rio Games. He also wants to spend more time with his family.
In the doubles, Zhao Yunlei of China won two golds in both the women's and mixed doubles with partners Ting Qing and Zhang Nan, respectively.