All three defeats were to Chinese players
RIO DE JANEIRO — August 20, 2016: SO much was expected and Malaysian hopes were high too but tonight Datuk Lee Chong Wei failed for the third time to clinch the Olympics badminton singles title, going down 18-21 and 18-21 to China’s Chen Long.
This was Chong Wei’s fourth Olympics and most likely his last. In his first Olympics in Athens he went out in the last 16 while Chen Long won the bronze in London four years ago in his first Olympics.
The Malaysian had the better of the Chinese in their four previous meetings before Rio, winning twice last year and again this year but where it mattered — at the Olympics, the world’s biggest sports stage — Chen Long turned the table around by putting up a magnificent all-round performance.
Chong Wei, who won last night against another Chinese Lin Dan, could hardly find any holes in Chen Long’s defence and while he did return some of Chen Long’s leaping smashes, this was not enough.
Overall Chong Wei made too many unforced errors and lost the battle at the net and Malaysia’s long quest for Olympics gold ended at 10.11 Malaysian time.
With this defeat, Malaysia has to wait four more years more to taste gold at the Olympics.
The country’s contingent returns home with four silvers and one bronze. Three of the silvers came from badminton and the other from the synchronised diving pair of Pandelela Rinong and Cheong Jun Hoong. Cyclist Azizulhasni Awang came third in the keirin.