China 'love couple' win badminton gold

China won the opening badminton title of the London Games as Zhang Nan and Zhao Yunlei became the first boyfriend and girlfriend duo to win Olympic gold medals together.

Zhang and Zhao, who also won the world mixed doubles title in the same Wembley Arena venue a year ago, took the Olympic gold medal with a 21-11, 21-17 win over their second-seeded compatriots Xu Chen and Ma Jin.

Their success raised the possibility of the world's most powerful badminton nation winning all five Olympic titles at a single Games for the first time.

China are already certain of the women's singles title, and have surviving players in all the other three events.

At the end of the match Zhang threw his golden-coloured shoes into the crowd in celebration.

In the past, Chinese athletes have sometimes been discouraged from dating team-mates, but badminton head coach Li Yongbo has adopted a more liberal attitude, both to Zhang and Zhao and in the past to other players.

Most notably he allowed a relationship between Olympic men's singles champion Lin Dan, and the former women's singles world champion Xie Xinfang, who are now married.

This is perhaps unsurprising since Li apparently met his wife, the rhythmic gymnast Xie Ying, at a training venue in 1983.

Zhang and Zhao's relationship apparently came to light when they hugged and kissed after winning the Japan Super Series title two years ago.

Indonesia's Susi Susanti and Allan Busi Kusuma, now a married couple, also won Olympic gold medals on finals day in Barcelona in 1992, but did so in their respective singles events.

Even though there were some sensational rallies of attack, defence and counter-attack which often made a fine spectacle, there was only ever much doubt about the outcome of Friday's showpiece match until just before the end.

Then, after establishing an eight-point second game lead, the eventual champions relaxed, allowing a nervous-looking Xu Chen to launch some significant blows and claw the deficit back to two points at 17-19.

But thee gold medallists finished off the match when Zhao once again established a good net position, enabling Zhang to batter some heavy blows from the back and penetrate their opponents' defence.

"We have been training very hard and I think this gold medal will just be a beginning for our career," said Zhao, which sounded almost as though she had the 2016 Rio Games in her thoughts already.

However when asked if the gold medal became more important because of the negative publicity surrounding the Chinese team following the expulsion of women's double duo Yu Tang and Wang Xiaoli as part of the match fixing scandal earlier in the tournament, the new champions were more guarded.

"Everyone has trained very hard to put on their best performance," said Zhao.

"I am not familiar with what happened in the past few days," added Zhang.

Earlier China became sure of at least two gold medals when Wang Yihuan, the top-seeded world number one beat Saina Nehwal, the Commonwealth champion from India, to reach the final of the women's singles, where she plays her compatriot Li Xuerui, the All-England Open champion.

China also have two semi-finalists in the men's singles and the top seeds in the men's doubles, with Zhao Yunlei in with a chance of a second gold medal, having also reached the final of the women's doubles with Tian Qing.

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • SE Asia Stocks - Mostly down; Thai shares near 2-week low

    BANGKOK, May 26 (Reuters) - Most sharemarkets in Southeast Asia fell on Tuesday with the Thai index ending at a near two-week low and the Philippines touching a near four-week low after trade data while ... …

  • China breaks ground on lighthouse project in South China Sea

    China hosted a groundbreaking ceremony for the building of two lighthouses in the disputed South China Sea, state media said on Tuesday, a move that is likely to escalate tensions in a region already jittery about Beijing's maritime ambitions. China's Ministry of Transport hosted the ceremony for the construction of two multi-functional lighthouses on Huayang Reef and Chigua Reef on the disputed Spratly islands, state news agency Xinhua said, defying calls from the United States and the …

  • SE Asia Stocks - Thai, Philippine indexes weak after trade data

    BANGKOK, May 26 (Reuters) - Most Southeast Asian stock markets rose in line with the rest of Asia on Tuesday but the Thai index pared early gains after weak trade data in April, while the Philippine benchmark ... …

  • Is your home on top of a faultline?
    Is your home on top of a faultline?

    The Philippine Institute of Volcanoly and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) recently issued an updated and high-resolution "atlas" of the East Valley Fault and West Valley Fault, two major faultlines that run through sections of Metro Manila. Metro Manila may be due for a 7.2-magnitude earthquake within this lifetime, say experts from the institute, among them PHIVOLCS director Dr. Renato Solidum, Jr. According to records, the last major earthquake caused by the West Valley Fault took place 357 years …

  • Filipina maid photographs "modern slavery" in Hong Kong

    By Emma Batha LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - A Filipina maid in Hong Kong has published stark photographs of burned and beaten domestic workers to highlight the "modern slavery" she says has long been the city's shameful secret. "Hong Kong is a very modern, successful city but people treat their helpers like slaves," said Xyza Cruz Bacani, whose black and white portraits won her a scholarship from the Magnum Foundation to start studying at New York University this month. It's common …

  • Want to buy a brand new car?
    Want to buy a brand new car?

    Tired of fixing your old car? Maybe, this is the best time for you to invest a brand new car. BPI Family Savings Bank, the country’s leading consumer bank, is extending its newest campaign “Bagong Kotse, 1-Month Libre” promo until June 30, 2015 which allows potential car buyers to avail of a car loan term up […] The post Want to buy a brand new car? appeared first on Carmudi Philippines. …

  • ‘Kentex owners still in Phl’
    ‘Kentex owners still in Phl’

    The daughter of one of the Kentex Manufacturing Corp. owners has assured the government that the businessmen are still in the Philippines, contrary to some reports that they have fled the country. Barbara Ang, daughter of Kentex shareholder Veato Ang, said her father and his business partners have no plans of leaving the country despite the razing of the Valenzuela slipper factory, which killed 72 workers on May 13. Valenzuela Mayor Rex Gatchalian also stood by his promise to punish any local …

  • Lawmakers to review building code provisions
    Lawmakers to review building code provisions

    Lawmakers are set to review provisions of the National Building Code and Republic Act 10121, or the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act, to strengthen contingencies and policies to prepare the country for possible major earthquakes. The move came following proposals from Reps. Winston Castelo of Quezon City and Lito Atienza of the Buhay party-list to review the two laws and other regulations during a hearing of the House committee on Metro Manila development on the …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options