The Chinese internet was abuzz on Thursday after a Weibo user posted photos of Lin Dan with a ‘mystery woman’ just days after the badminton star’s wife gave birth to their first child. Lin later apologised on Weibo after a day when the story dominated the Chinese social media site. A user calling himself ‘Detective Zhao’ posted pictures and gifs he claimed showed the two-time Olympic champion with a woman in October. Other internet users quickly identified her as Zhao Yaqi, a model and actress. The post was the top trending topic and had more than 200,000 reposts and 40,000 comments on Weibo. Lin’s wife Xie Xingfang, a former badminton star herself, gave birth to their first child on November 5. Later on Thursday, Lin apologised on Weibo. “As a man, I won’t make any more excuse for what I have done,” he wrote. Lin Dan is one of China’s most marketable athletes – so will his many sponsors rush to abandon him after affair scandal? “But my behaviour has already hurt my family and I would like to apologise to them. Sorry.” Lin’s coach Li Yongbo, in Fuzhou for the China Open, said Lin was still on leave and he didn’t know anything about the story until he saw it in the news. Lin, 33, is one of China’s biggest sports stars, having won the world championships five times. He won the ‘Super Grand Slam’ of all nine of the sport’s major titles by the age of 28, and was the first player ever to retain Olympic gold when he followed up his Beijing 2008 win with the title at London 2012.