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Badminton: Lin wins fifth World Championships title as Lee retires injured

Lin Dan won his fifth World Championships title in Guangzhou - with a world ranking of 286. Photo: ITTF.

Lin Dan won his fifth World Championships title in Guangzhou – with a world ranking of 286. Photo: ITTF.

August 11, 2013: Chinese superstar Lin Dan won his fifth BWF World Championships title in unusual fashion when World No.1 Lee Chong Wei retired on Lin’s match point at 20-17 in the third game.

 

The top-seeded Malaysian had won the first game 21-16, before Lin won the second 21-14 to force a decider.

 

With Lin 19-15 up in the third, Lee won the next point and then went down on the floor suffering from cramp, eventually receiving some treatment on the side of the court.

 

After returning several minutes later, the 30-year-old managed to win the next point after instinctively returning Lin’s close-range smash to move to 17-19.

 

However, he stopped moving during the next rally – conceding match point – and fell to his knees in the middle of the court. Lin crossed under the net to console his long-term rival before Lee then received some more treatment on the court.

 

Soon after, Lee’s retirement was announced. The Malaysian eventually struggled to his feet to walk to the net for a post-match handshake with Lin and then had further treatment on the side of the court.

 

With the result official, Lin went on to celebrate in typically exuberant fashion, taking off his shirt and throwing it his fans, while gesturing passionately to the crowd after crowning a remarkable return to top-level competition.

 

Lee, meanwhile, was taken away on a stretcher for further treatment before an ambulance transported him to a local hospital.

 

Since beating Lee in the Olympics final last August, Lin had only played one tournament – April’s Badminton Asia Championships in Taiwan, where he withdrew midway – before the 29-year-old entered the World Championships on a wildcard.

 

Although proud of a remarkable return to top-level competition, Lin was quizzed more about his opponent’s dramatic retirement, which leaves Lee still seeking a first World Championships or Olympic title despite spending much of the past five years as the world’s top-ranked player.

 

“He got cramp and he just couldn’t move. He didn’t want to give up, so I wanted to help and check he was okay. It’s not about the spirit. I’ve suffered this before and you really can’t move when you get that cramp,” said Lin, currently ranked World No. 286.

 

“I really respect him as a great opponent as he has truly helped me realise my full potential. This is the cruellest side of this sport. You not only need skills and talent, but you also need some luck.”

 

Lin beat Lee in the final of the 2011 World Championships after earlier titles in 2006, 2007 and 2009, while he also beat the Malaysian in the finals of the 2008 and 2012 Olympics.

 

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