18 Ogos 2008

The elusive Olympics gold


Francis Paul (malaysiakini)

China’s Lin Dan, in all his majesty, broke the hearts of 27 million Malaysians when he beat Lee Chong Wei for the Olympics gold medal in Beijing tonight.

On a night when nothing could go wrong for the Chinese ace known as ‘Super Dan’ within the badminton fraternity, Chong Wei was clearly outclassed losing tamely 21-12, 21-8 in straight sets.

It was all over in 29 minutes.

Lin Dan started strongly and was leading 7-1 in the first five minutes with his accurate placing, overhead smashes and superb court craft.

It was clear at this point that Lin Dan, backed by vociferous Chinese supporters in the crowd, was aiming for nothing less than the gold and was mentally and physically charged for the battle with his Malaysian challenger.

When the scoreline read 18-10, Chong Wei had no choice but to change his plan to save his energy for the second game. Coach Misbun Sidek, watching from the sidelines, must have advised him likewise.

Before the match, a tv commentator declared the anticipation of all when he described the Lin Dan-Chong Wei clash the most awaited match of the Olympics badminton event.

"We can expect an exciting and closely-fought match between these two greatest badminton players today," he said.

But it was not to be. The crowds who packed the Beijing University of Technology gymnasium and the millions of tv viewers were left dumbfounded as to what actually happened.

It was a night of deep constrasts - Chong Wei could do nothing right and Lin Dan nothing wrong.

This is badminton

The world's No 1 raced to a commanding 8-0 lead in the second game before giving away a point with an unforced error. At 11-1, Malaysians could sense it was all over. Surely, it was impossible to defeat Lin Dan - this was his night and the gold medal was his to savour.

Chong Wei continued to struggle to find his rythmn and finally managed to score with three powerful cross-court smashes and reduced the score-line to 14-4.

At 19-6, the Malaysian world's No 2 started to shake his head in disbelief as reality sank in. Misbun Sidek also looked lost.

But this is badminton. The one in better form on the night will win. Cruel as it may be for Chong Wei, he was also playing in Lin Dan's den and there is always a home ground advantage in any sports.

But Chong Wei could also hold his head high for what he had achieved at the Beijing Olympics.

He can return to Malaysia a hero as he is the first Malaysian singles shuttler to qualify for the final in the Olympics.

In Beijing, Chong Wei also ended Malaysia's 12-year medal drought.

Malaysia's last triumphant return from the Olympics was in 1996 with a silver from the doubles pair of Cheah Soon Kit and Yap Kim Hock and a bronze from singles winner, Rashid Sidek.

While it will be another long wait for the Jalur Gemilang to be hoisted and the Malaysian anthem to be played at the Olympics, Malaysians can be consoled that at least, there is a silver lining from the Beijing Olympics.

As for Chong Wei, he deserved a good rest and perhaps find time to enjoy the RM300,000 reward from the Malaysian government.

And wait, he could also easily win the Malaysian Sportsman of the Year award for 2008.

2 ulasan:

OfficeBoyTingkat4 berkata...

Pembetulan,

Lin Dan hanya mengecewakan harapan rakyat Malaysia dari bangsa Malaysia sahaja.Tidak menghampakan segelintir Melayu Umno yang berfahaman racist.

Tidak mengecewakan golongan "10 Persen" UITM.Mereka ini menunggu Melayu untuk menang di sukan olimpik.

Mungkin juga mereka mencemuh Misbun kerana melatih Lee Chong Wei

Mr. Ed berkata...

yup.. betul Lee Chong Wei adalah lambang kejayaan rakyat Malaysia, walau tewas namun tetap berjaya di segi rakyat berbangsa Malaysia (bukan berbangsa Melayu, China atau India). Emas utk bangsa Malaysia.