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China Pockets Third Badminton Gold
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China pocketed its third gold in the Olympic badminton tournament Friday with a triumph over the only non-Chinese pair in the women's doubles' semi-finals, while South Korea won its first gold in the men's doubles.

Zhang Jiewen/Yang Wei, top seeds of women's doubles in the tournament, didn't follow the example of other top seeds and secured the third gold for China by beating Ra Kyung Min/Lee KyungWon 15-6, 15-4 in the semi-final.

South Korean Ra/Lee, considered the biggest threat to the Chinese pair, losing their accuracy of placement and unpenetrable defense in the match, found it difficult to face the challenge posed by the Chinese duet whom they've just upset 15-3, 15-3 in the Japan Open 2004.

"We made good preparations before this match," said Yang Wei, adding that they'd vowed to conquer all the obstacles before the Olympics.

In the other semi-final, world champions Gao Ling/Huang Sui beat No.4 seeds fellow Chinese Wei Yili/Zhao Tingting 15-10, 17-14to acquire the other final ticket.

Ha Tae Kwon/Kim Dong Moon won the civil war between two South Korean men's doubles' pairs, beating Lee Dong Soo/Yoo Yong Sung 15-11, 15-4 at Goudi Badminton Hall.

Without losing a single set, No.3 seeds Ha/Kim went into the final against unseeded Lee/Yoo, who surprisingly upset No.4, No.5 and No.7 seeds in the previous rounds and entered the final.

Ha/Kim, constantly on the attack, pulled away from their opponents from 7-7 in the first set, winning 15-11 at last.

The second set continued in the same style and Lee/Yoo seemed to accept the inevitable result, surrendering their resistance by the score of 4-15.

"It was a very difficult game and the conditions were not good," said Kim who was knocked out of the mixed doubles with his partner Ra Kyung Min in quarter-finals, conveying his thanks to his teammates and coach, especially his mother.

Indonesian pair Eng Hian/Flandy Limpele claimed the first medal for Indonesia in badminton by beating No.5 seeds Jens Eriksen/Martin Lundgaard 15-13, 15-7 in the bronze medal match of men's doubles.

In spite of no TV broadcast from Indonesia, Taufik Hidayat, the charming Indonesian genius, marched unstoppably on his road to win the Olympic men's singles' championship by beating Boonsak Ponsanafrom Thailand 15-9, 15-2.

Unseeded Taufik, resurrecting from a long-time slump, conqueredthe unknown Thai with ease, after making sweet revenges against his archrivals Wong Choong Hann of Malaysia and Danish Peter Gade consecutively.

In his best form, Taufik had the strongest belief to clinch the Olympic championship.

"I will win the gold, no matter it's Soni Dwi or Shon Seung Mo tomorrow," he claimed.

The other berth of the final was occupied by No.7 seed Shon Seung Mo, who became the first South Korean to participate in the Olympic men's singles' final by defeating Soni Dwi Kuncoro from Indonesia 15-6, 9-15, 15-9.

(Xinhua News Agency August 21, 2004)

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