The rivalry between two-time Olympics gold medalist Lin Dan and three-time Olympics silver medalist Lee Chong Wei has been going on for almost two decades and it seems like the China badminton superstar intents to keep it going until the next Olympics in Japan.
Hours ago (April 7), Lin Dan has just defeated Chou Chen Long with the score 9-21, 21-17, 21-11 in the men’s singles final at Axiata Arena in Bukit Jalil.
Prior to the final, on April 3, Lin Dan quipped that he would continue pushing himself to play as long as his arch nemesis, Lee Chong Wei, has not retired.
“Perhaps the two of us can go on and play in next year’s Olympics.
“Since Chong Wei hasn’t hung up his racquet, I might as well continue playing,” said Lin Dan after defeating Taiwan’s Chou Tien Chen in a first-round match on Wednesday.
The 37-year-old also revealed his motivation to persevere in badminton, which what seems to be of him paying homage to Lee Chong Wei.
“I want to challenge myself. I do not think any player has pushed himself to go the distance and play at this level.
“Also, I am thankful that I have not suffered any serious injury or sickness.
“If I do, I will probably retire.”
Lee Chong Wei did not compete in the Malaysian Open this year under his doctor advice as he was diagnosed with early stage of nose cancer some 10 months ago, NST reported.
After hearing Lin Dan mentioned his name in the interview, Lee Chong Wei rooted for Lin Dan to win the Malaysian Open if the latter was not up against a Malaysian player.
“My arch-rival yet my good pal, Lin Dan had a superb win over Taiwan’s Chou Tien Chen yesterday (Wednesday).
“After his (Lin Dan’s) win, I was flattered when he was quoted as saying, ‘Because Chong Wei hasn’t retired from the Badminton World, this has spurred me on to continue and I really hope to clash swords with him (Chong Wei) on the court soon.
“To be able to compete with him (Chong Wei) at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games shall be a dream come true’,” Chong Wei wrote on his Facebook.
Chong Wei also vowed to do whatever it takes in order to join Lin Dan on next year’s Olympics, The Star reported. If that happens, both players would be appearing on the biggest sports event for the fifth time.
“Next year may be the fifth and final Olympic Games for me and my life’s greatest opponent. Akin to what I’ve mentioned earlier, God willing my body allows it. I hope to step on the court in Tokyo as it will be a dream come true to be able to compete with him (Lin Dan) at the Olympics next year.
“It will be great to meet Lin Dan again where our battles will reach a full cycle of 20 years,” a determined Chong Wei said, signalling that the bromance and competitiveness between the two are still on fire.
The rivalry between the two could really make us cry! We hope both players good health and meet at the Tokyo Olympic Games!
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