Fu Haifeng and Zhang Nan held firm in a furious men’s doubles badminton final on Friday (Aug 19) to win the title for China after their Malaysian opponents froze twice when within reach of grabbing their nation’s first ever Olympic gold medal.
Malaysia’s Goh V. Shem and Tan Wee Kiong had two match points in a nail-biting finish to the 16-21 21-11 23-21 thriller but agonisingly, for hundreds of their shrieking fans at the Riocentro, they blew both of them by duffing serves into the net.
Fu and Zhang could hardly believe their luck and closed out the decider abruptly on their first match point when Tan netted in a brief front-court exchange.
China’s Liu Hong won women’s 20km walk final on Friday, fending off Mexico’s Maria Guadalupe Gonzalez in a thrilling final kilometer dash to the finish line to snatch gold.
World champion Liu was touted as the hot favorite heading into the Rio Games and she lived up to the billing, powering away from Gonzalez as the finish line came into sight to win in 1:28:35.
Malaysia’s Lee Chong Wei shrugged off eight years of Olympic heartbreak on Friday to defeat his nemesis Lin Dan 15-21 21-11 22-20 and reach the final of the men’s badminton after another classic encounter.
Having succumbed to Lin in the gold medal deciders at London and Beijing, top seed Lee gained sweet revenge by downing the Chinese great after a decisive set of unrelenting tension.
Struggling with fatigue and huge mental pressure, the veteran rivals battled point-for-point before Lee broke away late to secure three match points.