Mon, 20 Sep 2021

TOKYO, Aug. 2 (Xinhua) -- Denmark's world No. 2 Victor Axelsen outclassed China's defending champion Chen Long 21-15, 21-12 in the men's singles badminton final to claim the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics here on Monday.

After tying at 9-9, Axelsen reinforced his strong smashes to take a 21-15 lead. Chen failed to come back and Axelsen wrapped up the second set 21-12.

In their previous encounter at Rio 2016, Chen routed Axelsen 21-14, 21-15 in the semifinal before beating Malaysia's legendary shuttler Lee Chong Wei to win his first Olympic gold.

When the match ended, Chen walked straight to Axelsen on the court and congratulated him on his victory.

"I told him to enjoy the victory and expressed my best wishes that he can keep playing and stay healthy," Chen said.

Axelsen, the 27-year-old two-time Olympian, said with full confidence that he is so happy to win and he has been his absolute best at present. "When you win an Olympic final like this against Chen Long, I think you can say that you've been at least really really close to the best."

"I still have to sort of take this all in. This is the biggest achievement you can achieve as a badminton player," he said. "I feel not complete, but I just feel really calm and happy right now. And I have to digest this and then I'll come back stronger."

Chen, also the two-time world champion, said he didn't play as patiently and actively as Axelsen did, no matter in attack, defense or long rallies.

"This is my third Olympics. For me it is a little bit hard to say goodbye, but I think I have tried my best and I accept the result," Chen added.

Regarding his plan after the Games, Chen said that he will take a good rest first, before making a decision whether to carry on. "It has been too long since I last saw my son, my family. I really really miss them," he said.

Earlier in the day, Indonesia's fifth seed Anthony Sinisuka Ginting needed only 38 minutes to defeat the tournament's dark horse and world No. 59 Kevin Cordon from Guatemala 21-11, 21-13 and win the bronze medal.

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