Olympics day 3 – Ville pushes Chong Wei to the wire

Posted: July 31, 2012 in Uncategorized

Image courtesy of Badminton Photo

As a badminton journalist I have the privilege to have witnessed some great games over the past 10 years or so in my travels. Highlights such as Tine Rasmussens win over Wang Yihan at the All England in 2008, and Henri Hurskainen beating the great Peter Gade at the Europeans this year in Sweden spring to mind as classic encounters.

Little did I know that lasts nights encounter between Ville Lang of Finland and World number 2 Lee Chong Wei was going to have the same impact.

Ville had told me before the game that he was feeling good and training had being going well and he had come into these games in a confident mood. The Finn always has a swagger about him but watching him over the last few days I knew that he was ready and that more importantly he was ready to put it up to Chong Wei.

He has spent some time in Germany and had been sparring with Marc Zwiebler and was brimming with confidence after some good performances in training against the German.

All that said the majority still believed that this would be a walk in the park for the world number 2. As it transpired it proved to be far from easy for Chong Wei. The scene was set for an epic with a full house and the match being the only game on court and on the middle of the three courts at that.

Ville has always been a flamboyant character and the crowd soon realised this and got firmly behind him.

Chong Wei took the first game easily and many thought the writing was on the wall for the Finn but some Lang came storming back to shock the entire badminton world by taking the second game 21-14.

The crowd at this point really started to play their part with shouts of FINLAND FINLAND reverberating around the stadium and Ville just breathe it all in and lived off their enthusiasm.

“The crowd were immense. This is what we dream about and these are the games we all want to be involved in. I love these situations” said Lang.

The third set was as tight as you could imagine up until 11-11. Ville was in the match and a sluggish Chong Wei had to be worried. But all of a sudden the Malaysian found another gear and Lang suffered a mental lapse of concentration. It was clear also that the heat was a factor and Ville appeared to wilt. Chong Wei rattled off the remaining 10 points to take the match but while he won the crowd stood and applauded the endeavour of the Flamboyant Finn.

“Unfortunately I lost but this was the best match of my career and WOW I enjoyed it. Absolutely Immense”

What a match and what an atmosphere. This one goes into my memory bank as one of those games I will never forget.

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