LIN DAN VS LEE CHONG WEI: HOW BADMINTON"S GREAT RIVALRY WAS BORN

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Lin Dan (right) & Lee Chong Wei shake hands after their men"s singles semifinal match at the Badminton Asia Championships in Wuhan, Central China"s Hubei Province on April 30, 2016.

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Photo: VCG

Lin Dan (right) and Lee Chong Wei pose for photographs after the men"s singles final of the Malaysia mở cửa on April 9, 2017 in Kuching, Malaysia. Photo: VCG

Fifteen years ago in a packed Kuala Lumpur stadium, rising stars Lin Dan và Lee Chong Wei met in a final for the first time, setting the stage for what would become badminton"s greatest rivalry.Malaysia"s Lee, then 22, fell to the floor, punched the air & blew kisses lớn the crowd after his seesawing, 88-minute 17-15, 9-15, 15-9 victory, when he fought back from behind in the first and last games."Everyone saw how played," said Lee, who was the defending champion, after his win at the Kuala Lumpur Badminton Stadium."He is excellent in attack và his overhead smashes và forehand cross-court shots are dangerous. So it is very satisfying lớn beat him."It was a fittingly tense start for a matchup that would span two Olympic finals và two world championship deciders, and drew a new generation of fans.But the match would remain one of the high points for Lee, who lost his four world và Olympic finals against the Chinese great and retired last year without winning either of the sport"s vị trí cao nhất two titles."Their rivalry happened in a period when badminton needed inspiration," K.M.

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Boopathy, a veteran Malaysian sports journalist who watched the 2005 game, told AFP."They managed to make the sport extremely popular.""Bad boy" vs nice guyLee, now 37, và Lin, 36, played 40 times in total, with the Chinese player ­convincingly winning their head-to-head 28-12. Lee had lost his first và only encounter against Lin before beating him in the Kuala Lumpur final.The 2008 and 2012 Olympic title matches were among the most memorable showdowns between the men, who both enjoyed long spells as world No.1.Lin won in straight games in Beijing in 2008, but Lee came agonizingly close to lớn gold at London 2012, leading 19-18 in the deciding trò chơi before fatefully leaving a shot that dropped on the line.Bracketing the 2012 defeat, Lee lost world title matches to Lin in 2011 and then in 2013 in South China, when the air conditioning mysteriously failed mid-match và the Malaysian was stretchered off with cramp as he faced match point.Fiery Lin và soft-spoken Lee are very different characters, although they were friends off the court & share a strong mutual respect.Known as "Super Dan," Lin had a reputation as badminton"s "bad boy" - he sported multiple tattoos and strutted around the court with supreme confidence.The two-time Olympic và five-time world champion, often regarded as the best badminton player ever, often ran into controversy. In 2008, he threw a temper tantrum during a training session after which he had to deny striking his coach.In contrast, Lee was quiet & unassuming. But his humble demeanor belied a dazzling array of weapons on the court - he was blessed with lightning reflexes and once held the record for the world"s fastest smash.His 19-year career also had its fair nói qua of drama, however.The then world No.1 was banned after testing positive for a proscribed anti-inflammatory at the 2014 world championships, và was sidelined for eight months until authorities eventually accepted his explanation he took it inadvertently."We have to lớn salute him"Lee launched a comeback and defeated Lin in a thrilling semifinal at the năm nhâm thìn Rio Olympics - only to thua trận once again in the final, this time to another Chinese player, Chen Long.The sinewy star longed for a final shot at Olympic gold at the Tokyo Games, now postponed due lớn the coronavirus, but his hopes were dashed after being diagnosed with nose cancer in 2018.He recovered after treatment but struggled to lớn regain his form, và announced his retirement last year at a tearful press conference.The pair"s final match was the quarterfinals of the prestigious All-England xuất hiện in March 2018, which the Chinese won.But Lin has not hit his former heights in recent years, và with retirement looming he looked certain to miss the Tokyo Olympics before they were postponed lớn next year.When Lee announced his retirement, Lin posted on China"s Twitter-like Weibo, "I will be alone on the court và no one will accompany me."And only last month, Lee described his nemesis, who is still playing, as a "legend.""His titles speak for themselves. We have khổng lồ salute him," Lee said.Newspaper headline: The great rivalry