Lin Dan's withdrawal draws jeers

By Chia Han Keong

AMID loud jeers from nearly 7,400 fans at the Singapore Indoor Stadium yesterday, Chinese badminton star Lin Dan announced his withdrawal from the Li-Ning Singapore Open final due to gastric flu.

That meant that compatriot Chen Jin was declared the men's singles champion without playing a single point, much to the disappointment of the stunned fans, many of whom came to see Lin in action at the Open after a three-year absence.

The former world and Olympic champion dubbed "Super Dan" said he understood the fans' unhappiness.

He said: "I know I have plenty of supporters and I'm sorry I wasn't able to entertain them in the final. I'm certain that I'll be back to try and win future Singapore Open events."

The 27-year-old said that he felt unwell when he went to bed last Saturday night, after a three-set semi-final victory over Denmark's Peter Gade.

"I consumed quite of bit of chilled water, probably more than I should. I woke up in the middle of the night feeling terrible, and went to consult my team doctor."

His discomfort persisted and, yesterday morning, he was forced to make a decision upon consultation with the tournament doctor, who confirmed that he was suffering from gastroenteritis, or gastric flu.

"With the Indonesian Open coming up right up after this tournament, I decided not to push my body," he said.

Lin said that while he was disappointed not to win the Open - one of the rare few big-prize tournaments he has yet to win - he believes that his best showing this year has given him the impetus to return to the Open to try again.

Chen, who found out about Lin's condition early yesterday morning, believes his rival made the right decision.

"As he is deep into his professional career, he has every right to take care of himself to keep going," he said.

Nevertheless, Lin's apology failed to fully appease his fans, who jeered loudly at the subsequent Chinese men's and women's doubles finalists.

Still, that did not stop the Chinese duos from winning the finals. The women's doubles pair of Tian Qing and Zhao Yunlei beat South Korea's Ha Jung Eun and Kim Min Jung 21-13, 21-16. The men's duo of Cai Yun and Fu Haifeng also beat Indonesia's Alvent Yulianto Chandra and Hendra Aprida Gunawan 21-17, 21-13.

In the women's singles played before Lin's apology, China's Wang Xin capitalised on an error-prone Tine Baun of Denmark to win her first Singapore Open crown 21-19, 21-17.

Indonesia ensured that the Chinese did not sweep all five titles, when their mixed-doubles pair of Tantowi Ahmad and Liliyana Natsir beat Taiwan's Chen Hung-ling and Cheng Wen-hsing 21-14, 27-25.

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