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Asian Games: Five facts about badminton rivals Lin and Lee

AFP | Sunday, Sep 28, 2014

Badminton Olympic champion Lin Dan from China.

INCHEON, South Korea - Five facts about the long-standing rivalry between badminton's world number one Lee Chong Wei and Olympic champion Lin Dan, who clash in the Asian Games semi-finals on Sunday:

1. China's Lin Dan, 30, has won 22 of his matches against 31-year-old Lee, who has taken just nine. "Super Dan" has had the better of their exchanges, which began 10 years ago, and the biggest early scalp he took was in 2008 when he beat Lee in two games in the Beijing Olympics men's singles final.

2. Lee's consistent performances saw him take the world number one spot from Lin in late 2008 and he has stayed at or near the top ever since. But in major tournaments, Lee has had trouble sealing victory. Lin denied him gold at the 2010 Asian Games and again in the world championships final in 2011, when the Chinese player took a classic victory in a tight three-game match which went down to the wire in the third.

3. All eyes were on Lin and Lee in the Olympic men's singles final in London in 2012 with Lee having won both the Korean and Malaysian Opens that year, but he again narrowly lost in a three-game thriller.

4. After a year out, Lin came back to contest the 2013 world championships in Guangzhou with fans optimistic for Lee because of his Chinese rival's lack of match play. But there was more heartbreak for the Malaysian, even after he won a spectacular first game. He could not withstand an overheated stadium and was stretchered off at 20-17 in the third with reported cramps. Malaysia's coach blamed the air-conditioning going off in the crucial second game for Lee's demise.

5. Ahead of Sunday's showdown, the Chinese superstar, who is widely regarded as the sport's best ever player, said he would make the most of the final episodes of badminton's greatest rivalry. "I don't know when I or Lee Chong Wei will retire, so I cherish every opportunity to play against him," he said.

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