WORLD number one Lin Dan not only screamed for joy and pulled his shirt over his head but also thanked the crowd for their support by bowing to all four sides of the stands.
It was a gesture seldom seen from Lin Dan and the top seeded Chinese had good reasons for doing so.
He achieved a rare feat in badminton history yesterday, becoming only the second player to win back-to-back world titles after beating Sony Dwi Kuncoro (pic) of Indonesia 21-11, 22-20 in the men's singles final at the Putra Stadium in Bukit Jalil yesterday.
After winning the first game in quick fashion, Lin Dan looked home and dry on his way to another world title. However, the ninth seeded Indonesian stormed back from 6-12 down in the second game to take the lead at 15-14.
Sony appeared set to take the match to the deciding rubber when he led 19-17. But Lin Dan grabbed three quick points in succession to reach match point before the Indonesian forced duece.
Sony's gallant charge finally came to an end after a poor net shot at 20-21 and Lin Dan had the easy task of flicking it beyond his opponent's reach for the title.
Lin Dan thus followed in the footsteps of his countryman Yang Yang. The southpaw claimed the world title in Beijing in 1987 and retained it in Jakarta two years later.
The 24-year-old Lin Dan, also a southpaw, certainly lived up to his top billing throughout the tournament. He did not drop a single game in his campaign.
“I'm happy with the win. It is the result of much hard work. I also appreciate the fans, who supported me and enabled me to keep my world title today,” said Lin Dan, who was criticised by coach Li Yongbo after losing to Malaysia's Lee Chong Wei in the Sudirman Cup (world mixed team championships) in Glasgow last month.
Lin Dan also complimented Sony for his fighting performance.
“He was not the player I was expecting to meet in the final. He did well to beat Chong Wei, Peter-Gade (Christensen of Denmark) and my team-mate, Chen Yu, to reach the final. He certainly gave me a good fight today,” said Lin Dan, winner of four Super Series events thus far this year.
Lin Dan now has an excellent record unmatched by anyone in the World Championships. He was the runners-up behind Indonesia's Taufik Hidayat in Anaheim two years ago and can lay claim to becoming the greatest player in history if he takes the Olympic gold in Beijing next year.
However, Lin Dan was quick to brush aside early suggestions he will be the player to beat for the Olympic gold medal.
“It is still one year away. I just want to have a good foundation and try to do well in the Super Series tournaments first,” he said.
Zhu Lin, making her first appearance in the world meet, won the women's singles title, beating Hong Kong's Wang Chen 21-8, 21-12.
South Korea's hopes of winning their first world title in four years were dashed with Lee Yong-dae-Jung Jae-sung went down 19-21, 19-21 to third seeds Markis Kido-Hendra Setiawan of Indonesia in the men's doubles final.