|China's Lin Dan kisses wife Xie Xingfang, on Sunday
Guangzhou: Chinese superstar Lin Dan took the badminton world title for a fifth time Sunday after his arch rival Lee Chong Wei was stretchered off the court in the third game.
The current world No. 1 from Malaysia dropped to his haunches at 16-19 down and tried to recover, but had to retire from the match at 17-20 -- leaving Lin, who is world and Olympic champion, to take the title 16-21, 21-13, 20-17.
Teenage Thai Ratchanok Intanon won her first badminton World Championship title when she upset Olympic champion Li Xuerui in the women's singles on Sunday to end China's decade of domination in the event.
It was tears of sheer joy as the 18-year-old created history. She tore apart Li Xuerui 22-20, 18-21, 21-14 to become the youngest champion – men or women – in the World Championships. The three-time world junior champion is also the first shuttler from Thailand to win the world title and the first player in 14 years to break China’s domination in the women’s singles.
Lee had been hoping to end a run of high-profile defeats at the hands of Lin — widely regarded as the game's best-ever player — who beat him in the previous world title men's singles final and in the two last Olympic finals.
The two badminton legends put on a brilliant display in the first game in front of a packed Tianhe Gymnasium in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou. Lin took an early lead, leaving the crowd gasping with an almost involuntary lightning reflex return at the net to go 5-3 up. The return was so quick that he hardly seemed to know about it himself.
As the temperature soared in the stadium with the air conditioning seemingly off during the second game, the crowd fanned themselves furiously and Lee battled to catch up, but Lin took the second 21-13.
Ratchanok, 18, beat Li 22-20, 18-21, 21-14 to become the first Thai to win the World Championship and first non-Chinese woman since Denmark’s Camilla Martin lifted the title at home in 1999.
In the first final of five, controversial duo Wang Xiaoli and Yu Yang claimed the women’s doubles title over Jang Ye-na and Eom Hye-won of South Korea.
Chinese top seeds Chen Xu and Jin Ma were beaten 21-13, 16-21, 22-20 by Tontowi Ahmad and Liliyana Natsir of Indonesia in the mixed doubles.
Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan followed their compatriots by claiming the men’s doubles title with a comprehensive 21-13, 23-21 win over Danish pair Mathias Boe and Carsten Mogensen in 33 minutes.