China adds 3 more medals to badminton total

Tian Qing and Zhao Yunlei closed out a troubled women's doubles bracket by downing Japan's Reika Kakiiwa and Mizuki Fujii to add another gold medal to China's badminton total.

China was already guaranteed a pair of medals in the women's singles final, where Li Xuerui beat world champion and countrywoman Wang Yihan to earn China its fourth straight gold in that event.

And it was nearly a sweep for China in the singles tournament, but Wang Xin was forced to retire from her match with India's Saina Nehwal because of left knee injury suffered while up 21-18, 1-0. Nehwal earned her country's first ever badminton medal.

The women's doubles bracket was rocked earlier in the week by the expulsion of four pairs for intentionally trying to fix the draw by losing matches. Among those expelled was the top-seeded Chinese duo of Wang Xiaoli and Yu Yang, who were trying to ensure they would not meet Tian and Zhao until the final.

Two of the teams reinserted into the draw after the discipline was announced were Russia's Valeria Sorokina and Nina Vislova, as well as Alex Bruce and Michele Li of Canada, and they met in the bronze medal final that was won by the Russian duo 21-9, 21-10.

"We are delighted that we had a chance to continue in this tournament," said Sorokina. "We lost, we thought at the time, but it's so good to have another chance to go through. We gave it 100 percent. Obviously in the semifinal we were not quite good enough fighting our Chinese opponents, but after that we did all we could to get a bronze."

Zhao, who won gold in the mixed doubles final on Friday, and partner Tian were pushed during their second game against their fourth-seeded opponents from Japan, but eventually posted a 21-10, 25-23 triumph.

"I am really happy with my two golds. It's something I didn't expect," noted Zhao.

It marked the fifth straight Olympic Games in which China has won the women's double, with the only time it did not win this discipline coming in 1992, when it lost to South Korea in the final.

China has won 12 of the 19 medals in women's doubles.

"They performed very well and you saw the power of the Chinese team. We showed that to the world. Even though we had difficulties and a lot of problems, they held together as a team," said coach Li Yongbo of Li and Tian.

"We should win the gold medals. Even though there was the problem with our first-seed pair, these are champions and they were under pressure. The whole Chinese team performed their best. The country and the people will be proud."

There wasn't as much drama in the all-Chinese singles final, but there was still a bit of an upset as the third-seeded Li knocked off Wang 21-15, 21-23, 21-17.

"I changed my strategy and calmed myself down. I always said to myself, 'don't lose any points,'" noted Li of rebounding from the lost second game. "It was very strenuous but I just persevered."

In all, China has won five medals in badminton at the London Games, including three gold. It could add more on Sunday, when the Chinese duo of Cai Yun and Fu Haifeng will battle Denmark's Mathias Boe and Carsten Mogensen in the men's doubles final.

Also, China's Lin Dan is set to battle Malaysia's Lee Chong Wei in the final of the men's singles bracket.