Second seeds Cai Yun and Fu Haifeng failed to realize a 16-year dream of winning the men's doubles gold at Olympic Games, losing to top seeds Markis Kido and Hendra Setiawan from Indonesia 21-12, 11-21, 16-21 on Saturday.
The first set was totally controlled by the Chinese pair, whose precise drops and consistent smashes easily penetrated the opponents' defence.
However, the situation has totally changed from the second set, in which Cai and Fu made a lot of unforced errors and allowed the Indonesian pair to regain their confidence.
The third set was almost a copy of the second one, only in the latter part of which they staged strong resistance when the score was 20-12 in favor of the Indonesians, but it seemed too late and they finally lost the set at 16-21.
Sixteen years ago, Li Yongbo, the head coach of Chinese badminton team won the bronze medal at Barcelona Olympics in men's doubles with his partner Tian Binyi. Since then, the Chinese men's doubles players had never bagged a single medal, not to mention a gold.
The Chinese duo actually has set a record for China to reach the final in the men's doubles, beating Danish veterans Jens Eriksen and Martin Lundgaard Hansen in the first round, Howard Bach and Bob Malaythong from the United States in the second round, and Lee Jae-jin and Hwang Ji-man in the semi-final.
On the surprisingly easy win in the first set, Fu Haifeng said the reason was that the opponents were too nervous and too anxious.
But in the second set, they "recovered to their normal state and staged enormous pressure on us from the serve-receive phase."
"We wanted to attack, but we couldn't find enough chances to do so," he said.
The 24-year-old, however, felt satisfied with their performance throughout the whole tournament.
"We've tried our best, and we felt no regret today," said Fu.
While Cai Yun, apparently upset with the result, expressed his desire to quit badminton, which in his mind, is not his whole life, but only a part of it.
"I felt too tired these years, and I would consider if I should still continue my career after the Games," said the 28-year-old world champion."The defeat was not as unacceptable as I had imagined. Actually I feel much more relieved now."
Indonesia bagged two golds in men's doubles at the previous four Olympics, and Kido said they are very happy to continue this glorious tradition.
"I am happy to get the first gold medal in badminton for Indonesia at the Olympics. Tomorrow is Indonesia's Independence Day. It is a birthday present for Hendra and me and also for the nation," said Kido, who claimed the world champions title with Setiawan in 2007.
(Xinhua News Agency August 17, 2008)