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24 Nov 2010

The Chinese Way

Sunday, 21st November 2010

The much awaited badminton event was going to start:the men's single match. It was a replay of the 2008 summer Olympic's final match-Lee Chong Wei vs Lin Dan. Both players went to the court carrying different "status"-Lee Chong Wei, the current world number one, and Lin Dan, the Olympic champion. The match between these two world class players was something that shouldn't be missed out for a badminton fans. Whenever they meet, they themselves show something we'd never seen before from their previous meetings, hence their meetings were always fulled with spectacular shots and excitement.

This time around, the match was far more excited than the Olympic's final, as three sets were needed to determine the winner. The first set was won by Lin Dan with 21-13, but Chong Wei broke his nemesis' good form from the first set by winning the second set 21-15. It was a great performance by Chong Wei in the second set. But his good performance flopped in the third set, where Lin Dan lead 11-1 to the interval of the match. The bigger gap was positive for Lin Dan, as he can win the set, as long as he can defended himself very well and minimize his unforced errors. True enough, he won the match in the end.

During the match, I saw that Lin Dan was very clever with his mind playing thing, and I felt that he was in total control when he is really in his up to form performance. I had a chance of feeling this when I went to watch 2010 Thomas Cup's final in Kuala Lumpur. At that time, the majority supporters in the stadium were cheering for the Indonesian team. But Lin Dan was not bothered by all the chants and cheers, because he still showed that he was in total control in the match. This time around, he should have some pressure, as the event was held in his native country. But then, he does not showed that he was being pressured and managed to show that he was in total control. On the other side, Chong Wei's performance in the third set was obviously flopped from his second set. I have not seen Chong Wei play with my own eyes, so I can't say anything about it. Set 1 was lost in a fighting way, where he really fights to gain points. But set 3 was quite humiliating, with the gap of 10 points during the interval. This showed that he was not in his top form at that moments.

Though Chong Wei had lost once again to Lin Dan, we should praise and congratulate him as he had gone as far as the final, but not criticize him. We should just say that today, he lost to a better player. As a spectator, we cannot say that a player should have win a match because it looks so simple and easy. We cannot understand what's in their mind or why they played poor, because we are not in that professional level. We shouldn't say players did not improved, because I believe each player improved game after game. The only difference is, the time it takes to improve in a player is totally different from another player. We cannot blame it all to a player for being a loser, but should praise them for their hardwork and gives encouragement. It's not totally all the players fault because LUCK played an important part in everything.

This time, lady luck was with Lin Dan. He is now the world's most successful badminton player, having won the Olympic Games, Asian Games, 3 times World Championships, 4 times All England Open, 4 Thomas Cups and 3 Sudirman Cups. Some people might not like him for what he is, especially most of the Malaysian, but we cannot deny his success, as he won each one with his hard work. Others professional players in the world are greats too, but now, Lin Dan is just a little bit better than them.

Chong Wei and Lin Dan while waiting for the prize giving ceremony

Lin Dan, upon getting his medal

Wednesday, 24th November 2010

The final of the men's 110m hurdles was one of the event I happened to watch during the Games. China's favorite boy, Liu Xiang, defended his gold medal in this year's event. He won China's first ever gold medal in the track and field event in the 2004 Olympic, thus his stardom rise from a zero to a hero. During the 2008 Beijing Olympic, he disappointed everyone because he bore the nations' expectation of retaining his gold from 2004 Athens Olympic, but he walked off the track because of an injury. The injury was significant and ruled him out of 2009 World Championship, a major competition. So, for 13 months, he was out from everyone's mind, right until he entered Shanghai Golden Grand Prix competition. Although he did not win, he had showed that he was slowly back in form. So, after 2 years from the injury, and now entered the Asian Games' event, once again, he bore the expectation of retaining his 2006 Asian Games' gold medal.

During the event, I saw that the whole stadium were fulled with hundred of thousands of people. The crowds cheered when Liu Xiang's name was mention. I can't imagine how much pressured does Liu Xiang carried during the event. When the gun was fired, all athletes on the line started to move. Liu Xiang was left a few positions behind at the starts. But he started to speed up, quarter way through the finish line. It was a real excitement watching all those athletes trying to run faster than on another, especially those front runners who were so closed to each other. In the end, Liu Xiang met the expectations of the crowds and his nation by winning the event. I can see that he was really relieved as he crossed the line.

2 different events, 2 different athletes. But the outcome was the same:winning another match no matter how hard it takes!

Liu Xiang, after crossed the line

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