Olympics badminton: China's Li wins women's singles gold

Li Xuerui beat compatriot and world champion Wang Yihan to win gold in the Olympic women's singles badminton.

Third seed Li won 21-15 21-23 21-17 to become the fourth Chinese winner of the event in consecutive games.

The 21-year-old had two gold medal points in the second game but Wang saved both before setting up a decider.

India's Saina Nehwal won bronze after China's Wang Xin retired with a knee injury.

Analysis

That was an incredible effort from Li. I don't know where she got the energy from in the third game because she was really struggling. Wang will be kicking herself because she made mistakes that kept Li in it. Wang was in such a good position after winning the second game but she just didn't have the consistency and Li had the skill to keep in there and win.

Wang had been leading 21-18 1-0 when she conceded the match but her retirement gave India their first badminton Olympic medallist.

Li made a strong start in the final against the world champion and took the opening game but Wang Yihan struck back in the second game, saving match points at 20-19 and 21-20 before converting her first game-point opportunity.

Li looked to be struggling in the third game but she went 8-3 ahead early on and although Wang hit back and levelled it at 17-17, it was Li who went on to claim gold.

She was a last-minute entry for the event after being chosen ahead of former world number one Wang Shixian and her 30-match winning streak this year included three wins over her final opponent.

"Winning gold is a happy, exciting moment but the glory shouldn't be for me alone, it should be for the whole Chinese team," said Li afterwards.

"Together with my teammate [Wang] we played brilliantly, and presented an exciting match for the audience.

"Both of us performed well in terms of technique. There isn't anything extremely good or bad. It's a competition, you have to produce a winner and a loser."

Li also said that she had to dig deep for victory.

"Friends who know me well will be aware that I have these physical stamina problems," she added. "I'm not that physically strong. Yesterday I was also quite tired but you can never underestimate the aspirations of an athlete wishing to achieve a gold medal. That kind of persistence and determination to keep going made sure I achieved the gold medal today."

X]o0}߯'cBS@:M6џUf)!X&H{$2ո&Aa?h玗ߏ2gK29dY}TkpëvS $-T08úX4oP?zچiJMr_[ì^7@Y;F +erIW=l~B?j 1u| Nll