China completed a brilliantly successful world championships in Madrid this week by sweeping to victory in three of yesterday's four finals.
The powerhouse of world badminton had already notched a gold in the women's doubles on Saturday and they added triumphs in the men's and women's singles and the men's doubles on the final day.
Of a total 20 medals at stake, China won 10, including golds in four of the five events.
|China's Cai Yun (L) and Fu Haifeng hold up their gold medals after their men's doubles final match at the World Badminton Championships in Madrid September 24, 2006.[Reuters]|
Chinese world number two Lin Dan, who lost in last year's final, fought his way back from a game down to beat fellow countryman Bao Chunlai 18-21 21-17 21-12 and take his first world singles title.
Xie Xingfang made a successful defence of her crown when she beat 2003 champion Zhang Ning to win another all-Chinese affair 21-16 21-14 in a repetition of last year's final in the women's singles.
Top seeds Fu Haifeng and Cai Yun finished by rattling off a 21-9 21-13 victory over England's Anthony Clark and Robert Blair in the men's doubles.
The Chinese hegemony was broken only in the mixed doubles where Nathan Robertson and Gail Emms beat friends and training partners Clark and Donna Kellogg to win gold in an all-English final.
The 23-year-old Lin, seeded two in Madrid, was edged out by Bao in the first game but stepped up a gear in the second and ran out an easy winner in the third.
Lin won the silver at last year's worlds, losing to Indonesia's Taufik Hidayat in the final and had been in sparkling form in the buildup, winning the Hong Kong, Macau and Taipei Opens in recent months.
"Losing to Taufik last year gave me an extra incentive for this year," said Lin. "I've worked really hard to win this.
"Although I won the World Cup last year, the world championships are more important to me and it was great that China won all three medals."
World number eight Bao, who won the Korean Open last month, said that the match had turned on an error he made when the scores were level at 16-16 in the second game.
"I made a small error in the second game and that was very costly but I'm very happy with the medal and I played positively throughout."
Xie, who won both the Hong Kong Open and the All-England this year, became the first woman successfully TO defend the title since China's Ye Zhaoying, who won the title in 1995 and 1997.
"I think I was more excited when I won my first world championship," said Xie. "I think I made fewer mistakes out there and controlled the draft better than Zhang Ning."
Robertson and Emms, the Olympic silver medallists, started strongly and forced compatriots Kellogg and Clark to play catch-up throughout, winning the first game 21-15 and storming to victory in the second 21-12.
(source: China Daily)