BIRMINGHAM, England – China's head coach Li Yongbo said their All England badminton championship clean sweep of all five titles had not been uppermost in their minds here.
China had won all five in a world championship before, but that was in Beijing back in 1987, and this, in European conditions, was a far tougher task. It was also the first clean sweep at the All England event since 1948.
Li said: "We didn't think about winning all five titles. We mustn't think about outside factors, or we can't play the way we have."
Asked if China's controversial decision to skip the Super Series finals in Malaysia in December had been justified by this performance, Li answered, laughing: "Do you think we made the wrong choice?"
Asked if China will compete in the next Super Series finals, Li answered: "It depends on each team and each circumstances. We have to look at what is best for each player. We didn't think the decision was controversial."
China became the first nation ever to win all five titles in the open era at the All England championships when Cai Yun and Fu Haifeng wrapped up the the men's doubles 21-17, 21-15 against Korea's Han Sang Hoon and Hwang Ji Man.
The success which really made it possible was that of Wang Yihan, the young unseeded player from Shanghai, who beat Tine Rasmussen, the top-seeded titleholder from Denmark, 21-19, 21-23, 21-11, and became the first to win the women's singles at only the second attempt.
The success which attracted the most attention was the repeat of the Olympic men's singles final, in which Lin Dan again beat Lee Chong Wei, the world number one from Malaysia, in straight games, though this was a closer match than the one in Beijing.
The Chinese star beat the ambitious, hard-working Malaysian 21-19, 21-12 after beginning rather patchily, then grabbing his first important chance, and accelerating away impressively towards the end.
Asked how or why he won, Lin said: "It wasn't tactical or anything - we are both good players. It was more psychological. I was focused and calm.
"I think I played quite well. There were a couple of times in the first set where I didn't handle the situation the best I could and let him have an advantage. But I kept my form and managed to play well."