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.

  • Billionaire finds wreck of WWII ship in Phl
    Billionaire finds wreck of WWII ship in Phl

    Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen says he has found the Japanese Navy’s biggest warship at the bottom of the sea in the Philippines, 70 years after US forces sank it. Allen posted a photo on Twitter on Tuesday of the World War II battleship Musashi’s rusty bow, which bore the Japanese empire’s Chrysanthemum seal. The American billionaire, who has also pursued space exploration, said his luxury yacht and exploration ship, the M/Y Octopus, found the Musashi one kilometer (1.6 miles) deep on the …

  • US ambassador recovers from knife attack praised by N. Korea
    US ambassador recovers from knife attack praised by N. Korea

    The US ambassador to South Korea, Mark Lippert, was recovering from surgery Thursday after having his face and arm slashed by a knife-wielding activist in an attack applauded by North Korean state media. The United States condemned the "act of violence" which saw the ambassador rushed to hospital where his condition was described as stable after two-and-a-half hours of surgery that included 80 stitches to a deep gash on his right cheek. During the assault, Kim screamed a slogan in favour of …

  • Miriam bucks house arrest for Enrile
    Miriam bucks house arrest for Enrile

    Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago believes granting Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile house arrest, while former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo remains under hospital detention, will violate the equal protection clause of the Constitution. “That’s already a violation of the equal protection of the law,” she said. …

  • New Moro rebel group emerges
    New Moro rebel group emerges

    A radical Muslim cleric trained in the Middle East and considered one of the leaders of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) has broken away from the terror group to form his own band of jihadists who are now reportedly providing sanctuary to bomb expert Basit Usman and at least five foreign militants, the military said yesterday. Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesman Col. Restituto Padilla, citing reports from the field, said the Justice for Islamic Movement (JIM) was …

  • 8 of 10 cities most at risk from natural disasters located in Phl – study
    8 of 10 cities most at risk from natural disasters located in Phl – study

    Eight of 10 world cities most exposed to natural hazards are in the Philippines and more than half of the 100 cities most exposed to earthquakes, storms and other disasters are in four Asian nations, according to a research. The study, published on Wednesday by risk analysis firm Verisk Maplecroft, analyzed the threat posed by storms, floods, earthquakes, tsunamis, fires, volcanoes and landslides in more than 1,300 cities. The study found that the 10 cities most at risk are Port Vila in …

  • World's oldest person wonders about secret to longevity too
    World's oldest person wonders about secret to longevity too

    TOKYO (AP) — The world's oldest person says 117 years doesn't seem like such a long time. …

  • Ohio mom, boyfriend guilty; child emailed teacher for help

    PORTSMOUTH, Ohio (AP) — A woman and her boyfriend pleaded guilty to raping her young children and were sentenced to prison on Wednesday, a year after one of her daughters emailed a teacher for help and said she and her siblings were being chained to their beds, deprived of food and sexually assaulted. …

  • Ex-crew recognizes photos of sunken Japanese battleship
    Ex-crew recognizes photos of sunken Japanese battleship

    TOKYO (AP) — A former crewmember on a Japanese battleship that sank during World War II said Thursday he recognized photos of wreckage discovered this week off the Philippines by a team led by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen. …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options