GUANGZHOU, China — Lin Dan stood on the medal podium and pointed at the gold hanging around his neck, signaling something new for his vast collection.
The Chinese superstar with an unprecedented three straight world titles secured a long-covered Asian Games gold medal on Sunday night, beating world No. 1-ranked Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia in characteristic flamboyant style, 21-13, 15-21, 21-10.
"Both of us were under a lot of pressure in this final, so everyone will say that we played really hard," Lin said. "This year’s Asian Games might very well be my last, so I’m very happy that I was able to achieve my dream."
It was a rematch of the 2008 Beijing Olympics final, which ended with the same result. Lin and Lee tried to outwit each other in this latest clash by mixing fierce, 185 kph (115 mph) smashes with feathery flicks that floated the shuttle just over the net.
The highly charged crowd at Tianhe Gymnasium screamed "Sha!!" — the Chinese word for smash — every time Lin leapt with racket poised for a powerful forehand or just when they thought he was being too passive.
The final result became clear when Lin raced to a 6-1 lead in the final game, winning the point at the end of a long rally with a short, sharp shot aimed directly at Lee’s feet. Lin pumped his fists as the crowd roared and waved Chinese flags, confident that the athlete known as "Super Dan" was pulling through.
Lin set the pace after that, leading by as many as 11 points and launching a variety of attacks while Lee mostly lunged at them.
"Honestly, in my heart I knew it would be very difficult for me to win the gold medal because of the challenge posed by Lee Chong Wei," the Olympic champion said of his Malaysian opponent, who skipped the post-match news conference. "I just lost to him in Japan … if you really want that gold, there will be a lot of pressure."
As for his next goal now that he’s won every major badminton title, Lin said he hasn’t thought too much about it. He plans to take some time off to recuperate but plans to get back to training as soon as he can.
"I still have two years’ time, I hope to make the most of it and play my best for the Chinese badminton team," he said, without mentioning the London 2012 Olympics directly.
Bronze medals went to China’s Chen Jin and South Korea’s Park Sung-hwan.
After the win, Lin stood on the court with both fists raised, then let out a scream. He ripped off his shirt to reveal a chiseled physique that only enhances his popularity. Lin later hurled his shoes into the crowd, followed by his sweaty yellow shirt that sent a scrum of fans in the stands diving for it.
"It shows my generosity. I don’t keep precious things for myself, I give them to my fans," Lin quipped.
Earlier Sunday, South Korea’s Shin Baek-cheol and Lee Hyo-jung dominated with a precise attacking game, winning gold in mixed doubles over China’s Zhang Nan and Zhao Yunlei.
The unseeded Koreans traded points with their opponents in the first game, but pulled away midway through the second to win 21-19, 21-14.
Zhang and Zhao committed key errors by hitting the shuttle out of bounds and misjudging incoming shots to the perimeter that dropped just inside the line.
Taiwan’s Chen Hung-ling and Cheng Wen-hsing, and China’s He Hanbin and Ma Jin took the bronze.