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Spain's Marin wins badminton gold
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 20 - 08 - 2016

Spain's Carolina Marin screeched her way to Olympic gold Friday, defeating India's P. V. Sindhu in 19-21, 21-12, 21-15 become the first non-Asian winner of the women's singles badminton title.
"I'm a little Spaniard that broke the Asian world. My dream has come true," the 23-year-old world No. 1 told reporters after grabbing a rare medal for a European country in the sport.
It was also India's second medal in badminton, coming four years after compatriot Saina Nehwal grabbed a bronze in the same event in London.
When Pusarla Sindhu won a gold medal at the 2012 Asian junior badminton championships, her cricketing hero Sachin Tendulkar presented her with a car.
One can only guess at the reception the 21-year-old player will receive when she returns into the arms of 1.3 billion Indians after becoming the country's most successful female Olympian with her silver-medal performance in Rio.
Japan's Nozomi Okuhara won the Rio bronze in a walkover after her Chinese opponent, the 2012 singles champion Li Xuerui, pulled out of their playoff with a serious knee injury.
Sindhu, coached by the same man who took Nehwal to her London medal, was under huge pressure from the nation of a billion people to end India's agonizing wait for a Rio champion.
Despite bringing its biggest ever delegation, about 50 percent stronger than London where it won six medals, India had only celebrated a solitary bronze won by freestyle wrestler Sakshi Malik Wednesday.
"I thought it would be a gold but never mind, I got a silver," the Hyderabadi shuttler said. "I never thought I would make it to here."
Chinese duo Fu Haifeng and Zhang Nan defeated Malaysia's Goh V Shem and Tan Wee Kiong to win gold in the men's badminton doubles.
Malaysia won the first game 21-16, before China got back in the match with a 21-11 victory in the second. The Chinese pair clinched the third and final game 23-21 in a dramatic finish.
Malaysia's Lee Chong Wei shrugged off eight years of Olympic heartbreak to defeat his nemesis Lin Dan 15-21, 21-11, 22-20 and reach the final of the men's badminton after another classic encounter.
Having succumbed to Lin in the gold medal deciders at London and Beijing, top seed Lee gained sweet revenge by dumping out the Chinese great after a decisive set of unrelenting tension.
Lee will fight for the gold against the winner of Chinese world champion Chen Long and Dane Viktor Axelsen.
Matej Toth of Slovakia overhauled reigning champion Jared Tallent with a perfectly timed surge on the last circuit of the Rio road track Friday to add the 50km walk Olympic title to the world crown he won last year.
The 33-year-old journalist blew kisses to the crowd as he walked the final kilometer of the grueling test of endurance before completing the course in three hours 40.58 minutes to win his first medal at his fourth Games.
Australia's Tallent, who led the race for much of the final 10 kilometers, crossed the line in second place for the third Games in a row, 18 seconds behind Toth.
Japan's Hirooki Arai finished a further six seconds back but was later disqualified, leaving Canada's Evan Dunfee to take the bronze medal in 3:41.38.
Russia won synchronized swimming team gold for the fifth straight Olympics, completing a double launched with their duet title Tuesday.
The victory kept Russia's stranglehold on Olympic gold in a sport in which they have won every title since the Sydney 2000 Games. China took silver and Japan bronze.


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