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Xie takes gold but boyfriend Lin has to settle for silver
(China Daily) Updated:2005-08-23 16:01

  ANAHEIM, California: Olympic champion Taufik Hidayat captured his first badminton World Championship title on Sunday by dismantling Lin Dan, the World No 1 and pre-tournament favourite to capture the coveted crown.

  World No 6 Hidayat blitzed China's Lin early by winning the first 13 straight points of the men's singles final en route to a 15-3, 15-7 victory in 36 minutes at the Arrowhead Pond arena.

  The 24-year-old Indonesian becomes the first man to hold the Olympic and World titles at the same time.

  "I am very fortunate and grateful," Hidayat said. "All of my targets of winning the prestigious tournaments have been achieved.

  "Not everybody gets an Olympic as well as a World Championship. This proves I am one of the best in men's singles."

  Hidayat lead the Indonesian domination on the final day of the 2005 Worlds.

  Indonesian shuttlers also took gold in mixed doubles in Anaheim as Nova Widianto and Lilyana Natsir defeated China's Xie Zhongbo and Zhang Yawen 13-15, 15-8, 15-2.

  It was a disappointing day for pre-tournament favourite Chinese who were seeded first in three of the five events.

  They picked up just one gold on the final day when Xie Xingfang beat defending World and Olympic champion Zhang Ning 11-8, 9-11, 11-3 in an all-China women's singles final.

  This is Hidayat's third career victory over top seed Lin in their blossoming rivalry. Sunday's win and comes just seven weeks after Hidayat beat Lin in the semi-finals of the Singapore Open.

  Lin was trying to end the top-seed jinx at the Worlds as only two top seeds have won the men's title since the first Worlds in 1977.

  "I had a bad start and nothing more," said Lin, who also blamed the draft from the air conditioning in the Pond arena. "I will be back next year to win the title again."

  Hidayat clinched the title with an arching overhead smash that froze Lin in his tracks.

  Hidayat, who said it was his dream to become the first in history to hold both major titles, dropped to his knees and cupped his face in his hands in celebration.

  The five-time Indonesian Open winner Hidayat beat Lin at his own game, overpowering the 21 year old from Fujian, China, with an superb smash and a selective net attack.

  He is also the reigning Asian Games champion.

  It was a stunning loss for Lin, who has held the world No 1 ranking since March 2004.

  Lin was seeking a double win with his girlfriend Xie who captured her first world championship and became the 10th women's champion from China in the last 12 Worlds.

  "I already congratulated my girlfriend Xie when she won the title. I am happy for her," Lin said after his defeat.

  The 24-year-old Xie and Zhang have met five times in the last nine months with Xie winning four times.

  Zhang, 30, is the veteran of the China's women's team and said it is heart-warming to see younger players like Xie started to reach the top of the sport.

  "I enjoy seeing the future Olympians and world champions coming up," Zhang said.

  Xie said winning in Anaheim would give her more confidence as she looks forward to the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

  "Every game for me now is preparation for the Olympics," Xie said.

  In men's doubles, Tony Gunawan and Howard Bach of the United States upset former world champions Candra Wijaya and Sigit Budiarto of Indonesia.

  The 13th seeded Americans stunned the second seeded Indonesians 15-11, 10-15, 15-11 in 68 minutes.

  It is first ever medal at a world championship for the United States and the second gold for Gunawan, who won in 2001 while competing for Indonesia. He is one of the rare shuttlers to have won gold medals with two different countries.

  In mixed doubles, the fourth seeded Widianto and Natsir had to come from behind to beat their 11th seeded Chinese opponents in an 80 minute final.

  It was first gold medal for Indonesia in mixed doubles in 25 years.



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