LONDON, England (AP) — Badminton star Lee Chong Wei dismissed Indian surprise Parupalli Kashyap 21-19, 21-11 yesterday in an increasingly impressive march into the Olympic medal rounds.
In his first tournament 10 weeks after tearing ankle ligaments, Chong Wei has appeared stronger in his two knockout matches since his rusty group opener on Monday. Even he acknowledged it after his quarter-final win.
“I’m playing better and better. I hope this continues,” he said.
Standing between him and a second straight Olympic final was Chen Long of China, the 2010 world champion who ended the great Peter Gade’s career in a 21-16, 21-13 victory.
Meanwhile, world champ Wang Yihan led compatriots Wang Xin and Li Xuerui into the women’s semi-finals, with only India’s Saina Nehwal standing in the way of a Chinese sweep.
“I also feel like a Chinese,” Nehwal joked. “It’s a nice thing to be with them. The Chinese are very strong but I’m not worried about it.”
China were already ensured of at least one gold medal when both of their topseeded pairs reached the mixed doubles final. Top-ranked Zhang Nan and Zhao Yunlei will face second-ranked Xu Chen and Ma Jin after both teams came back from losing the first game of their semi-finals to make today’s final.
China also booked a berth in the women’s doubles final thanks to Tian Qing and Zhao Yunlei, the new favourites after allconquering teammates Yu Yang and Wang Xiaoli were one of four pairs kicked out of the games for trying to deliberately lose group matches to rig the knockout line-up.
Yesterday, the IOC urged the Chinese, South Korean and Indonesian teams to investigate the coaches of the eight players. Secretary General Thomas Lund of the World Badminton Federation said that was a separate issue from their plans to review the scandal after the Olympics to “make sure this situation won’t happen again”.