Sat, August 04, 2012
Sports > Badminton > 2012 London Olympic Games

Zhang Nan/Zhao Yunlei win mixed doubles badminton Olympic gold

2012-08-03 15:18:58 GMT2012-08-03 23:18:58(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

Zhang Nan (L) and Zhao Yunlei of China pose during victory ceremony of badminton mixed doubles competition, at London 2012 Olympic Games in London, Britain, on August 3, 2012. Zhang Nan and Zhao Yunlei of China won gold medal. (Xinhua/Ren Zhenglai)

Gold medalsits Zhang Nan (1st R) and Zhao Yunlei (2nd R) of China, silver medalists Xu Chen (1st L), Ma Jin of China, pose during victory ceremony of badminton mixed doubles competition, at London 2012 Olympic Games in London, Britain, on August 3, 2012. (Xinhua/Ren Zhenglai)

Zhang Nan and Zhao Yunlei of China take part in badminton mixed doubles gold medal competition, at London 2012 Olympic Games in London, Britain, on August 3, 2012. Zhang Nan and Zhao Yunlei of China won gold medal. (Xinhua/Ren Zhenglai)

Zhang Nan and Zhao Yunlei of China take part in badminton mixed doubles gold medal competition, at London 2012 Olympic Games in London, Britain, on August 3, 2012. Zhang Nan and Zhao Yunlei of China won gold medal. (Xinhua/Ren Zhenglai)

LONDON, Aug. 3 (Xinhua) -- China's mixed doubles players Zhang Nan and Zhao Yunlei beat their teammates Xu Chen and Ma Jin at the Wembley Arena Friday afternoon, clinching the first gold medal in badminton events at the London Olympics.

Their scores were 21-11 and 21-17. Xu and Ma snatched the silver. It is the first time China bags both the gold and the silver medals of the event at the Olympics.

Zhang/Zhao, the world No. 1 seed, dominated the court from the beginning, while their rivals made more mistakes. In the second game, they scored eight points in a row. Xu and Ma rallied to catch up, collecting four points before the match point. But they were too far behind to surpass.

After the match, the excited Zhang lay down on the court, before throwing his shoes to the crowd and waving a national flag as celebration, while the woman player Zhao appeared calm.

"The gold medal is a recognition for our training and preparation before the Olympics," Zhao said. "And it signals a new starting point as well."

This is her first time to the Olympic arena. "I didn't have a goal before coming here, just telling myself to do the best." She made a phone call to her parents. "They had been very supportive, not calling me and sending me text messages during the training after I arrived here. So I briefed them my victory."

Unlike her, Zhang said he came here to get the gold medal which was elusive to the Chinese team in 2008.

Zhang started to play with Zhao in 2010. They have bagged several medals, like the silver of the Guangzhou Asian Games in that year and seven golds from the grand prix and super series.

Tipped as lovers, the 26-year-old Zhao and Zhang who is four years younger than her outplayed world No. 4 pair Joachim Fischer and Christinna Pedersen yesterday, while Xu and Ma battled hard to win over the third seed Tontowi Ahmad and Liliyana Natsir from Indonisia.

The runners-up seemed disappointed at the result, with Xu's eyes reddened a little.

"We didn't start well and as a result had great pressure," he said. "We were just too eager to win."

Zhao Yunlei is going to pair with Tian Qing in pursuit of another title in women's doubles tomorrow. Their rivals are Japanese Mizuki Fujii and Reika Kakiiwa.

"My competition today was against my teammates so I felt relaxed," she said. "Tomorrow we will meet the real challenge."

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