Axelsen dethrones Chen to bag badminton gold

Published August 3, 2021
Gold medallist Viktor Axelsen of Denmark poses with his medal. — Reuters
Gold medallist Viktor Axelsen of Denmark poses with his medal. — Reuters

TOKYO: Denmark’s Viktor Axelsen swept the men’s singles Olympic gold medal on Monday, unseating Chen Long of China who claimed the title at the Rio 2016 Olympics.

Axelsen and Chen, two of the world’s most brutal smashers, ended their match 21-15, 21-12 after nearly an hour of flash shots and mesmerising rallies. Afterwards, Chen embraced and spoke in Chinese with Axelsen, who was still sobbing when he left the court.

“He told me that I deserved it, and my performance here has been great. And I said ‘Thank you so much’ and that he has been a big inspiration to me,” said Axelsen, who had just hung up from a call with Frederik, the crown prince of Denmark.

Chen had been trying to become the second Chinese man in a row to win back-to-back Olympics in the sport. Lin Dan won gold at the 2008 Beijing and 2012 London Games.

Indonesia’s Anthony Sinisuka Ginting took bronze, beating gutsy Guatemalan world number 59 Kevin Cordon 21-11, 21-13.

Ginting’s win gave Indonesia two medals on the final day of badminton, after Greysia Polii and Apriyani Rahayu claimed gold in the women’s doubles.

They beat China’s Chen Qing Chen and Jia Yi Fan 21-19, 21-15 for Indonesia’s first Olympic title in women’s doubles, and the country’s first gold medal of the Tokyo Games.

Medals table

After Monday’s events

(Tabulated under gold, silver, bronze, total):

China 29 17 16 62

United States 22 25 17 64

Japan 17 6 10 33

Australia 14 4 15 33

Russian OC 12 21 17 50

Great Britain 11 12 12 35

France 6 10 7 23

Germany 6 6 11 23

South Korea 6 4 9 19

Netherlands 5 7 6 18

Italy 4 9 15 28

New Zealand 4 3 4 11

Czech Republic 4 3 1 8

Canada 3 4 7 14

Switzerland 3 4 5 12

Croatia 3 2 2 7

Taiwan 2 4 4 10

Brazil 2 3 5 10

Cuba 2 3 3 8

Hungary 2 2 2 6

Denmark 2 1 2 5

Slovenia 2 1 1 4

Ecuador 2 1 0 3

Greece 2 0 1 3

Kosovo 2 0 0 2

Qatar 2 0 0 2

Georgia 1 4 1 6

Spain 1 3 3 7

Romania 1 3 0 4

Sweden 1 3 0 4

Venezuela 1 3 0 4

Hong Kong 1 2 0 3

Slovakia 1 2 0 3

South Africa 1 2 0 3

Austria 1 1 3 5

Indonesia 1 1 3 5

Serbia 1 1 3 5

Jamaica 1 1 2 4

Belgium 1 1 1 3

Ethiopia 1 1 1 3

Norway 1 1 1 3

Poland 1 1 0 2

Tunisia 1 1 0 2

Turkey 1 0 4 5

Ireland 1 0 2 3

Israel 1 0 2 3

Belarus 1 0 1 2

Estonia 1 0 1 2

Fiji 1 0 1 2

Uzbekistan 1 0 1 2

Bermuda 1 0 0 1

Iran 1 0 0 1

Latvia 1 0 0 1

Morocco 1 0 0 1

Philippines 1 0 0 1

Puerto Rico 1 0 0 1

Thailand 1 0 0 1

Colombia 0 2 1 3

Dominican Republic 0 2 1 3

Ukraine 0 1 5 6

Mongolia 0 1 2 3

India 0 1 1 2

Kenya 0 1 1 2

Portugal 0 1 1 2

San Marino 0 1 1 2

Uganda 0 1 1 2

Bulgaria 0 1 0 1

Jordan 0 1 0 1

North Macedonia 0 1 0 1

Turkmenistan 0 1 0 1

Kazakhstan 0 0 3 3

Mexico 0 0 3 3

Azerbaijan 0 0 2 2

Egypt 0 0 2 2

Argentina 0 0 1 1

Armenia 0 0 1 1

Finland 0 0 1 1

Ivory Coast 0 0 1 1

Kuwait 0 0 1 1

Malaysia 0 0 1 1

Published in Dawn, August 3rd, 2021

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