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Leaping Lin Dan claims third title
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Lin Dan of China made history when he became the first shuttler to win a third successive men's singles title at the World Badminton Championships yesterday.

Fifth-seeded Lin, champion in 2006 and 2007, needed 46 minutes to down compatriot Chen Jin 21-18, 21-16 in the final. The championships were not held last year because of the Beijing Olympics.

His girlfriend and fifth-seeded Xie Xingfang's dream of becoming the first woman to bag a third singles title was shattered when she was beaten by compatriot Lu Lan 23-21, 21-12 in a tame final.

Xie, winner in 2005 and 2006, hardly looked at her best in the 38-minute encounter while Lu played steadily to emerge champion.

China dominated the event, winning four of the five titles at stake - men's singles and doubles and women's singles and doubles. Seventh-seeded Thomas Laybourn and Kamilla Rytter Juhl of Denmark claimed the mixed doubles crown.

Cai Yun and Fu Haifeng of China had to fight for each point before winning the men's doubles title with a 21-18, 16-21, 28-26 victory over Koreans Jung Jae-sung and Lee Yong-dae in a 75-minute thriller.

Such was Lin's dominance here that he dropped just one game in six matches - against sixth-seeded Indonesian Sony Dwi Kuncoro in the semifinal on Saturday.

China's Yang Yang was the other shuttler to win two successive men's singles titles since the championships began in 1977, but Lin did better with a memorable victory.

Lin, 25, said hard work was the key to his success. "I am not a genius," said Lin. "I have worked very hard to achieve this. If others also work hard they can also achieve as much. I am very happy and honored to win. We are teammates and know each other's game.

"I am not thinking of the 2012 Olympics now. It is too far away. I want to finish this season first and then decide what to do next."

Laybourn and Juhl posted a 21-13, 21-17 victory over defending champions Nova Widianto and Liliyana Natsir of Indonesia.

"I am shocked. It's an amazing feeling. Now I can imagine what it means to be a world champion," said Laybourn. "This is the biggest day of my life. We have won a lot of tournaments together but this is the best."

(Agencies via China Daily August 17, 2009)

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