'Super Dan' targets last major honour

Updated: 13 December 2011 12:22 IST

He has every other major title in the game, but China's Lin "Super" Dan can fill the only gap in his resume at this week's badminton Superseries Finals -- and dethrone his arch-rival in the process.

'Super Dan' targets last major honour

Beijing:

He has every other major title in the game, but China's Lin "Super" Dan can fill the only gap in his resume at this week's badminton Superseries Finals -- and dethrone his arch-rival in the process.

Badminton's most decorated player is back from injury and on the victory trail with two titles in the past month, including two beatings of top-ranked Lee Chong Wei, who has won all three editions of the season finale.

Pin-up Lin, 28, has never played the event after badminton superpower China boycotted in 2008 and 2009. He entered too few events to make it to the 2010 showdown.

But excitement is growing that Lin can seal the "Super Grand Slam" by adding the Superseries title to his Olympics, world championships, World Cup, All-England, Thomas Cup, Sudirman Cup, Asia Championships and Asian Games wins.

Although Lin lies third in the season standings behind Malaysia's Lee and Chinese team-mate Chen Long, he is the form player after winning the 12-leg series' last two stops in Hong Kong and Shanghai.

And despite controversy earlier in the year, when a series of walkovers against Chinese players aroused suspicion he was acting under team orders, Lin will aim for an emphatic close before heading into an Olympic season.

"As the tournament is on our home turf, China should strive for strong results and end 2011 on a good note," said China's head coach Li Yongbo.

This could translate as a Chinese clean-sweep with the women's singles considered a formality and the hosts also possessing doubles talent to burn, plus the backing of fervent home support in industrial Luizhou.

But Li said the men's singles would be the toughest event for China with Lee, Indonesia's former Olympic champion Taufik Hidayat and Denmark's Peter Gade all expected to challenge Lin and Chen.

China's world number one shuttlers include Wang Yihan in women's singles, the unstoppable Wang Xiaoli and Yu Yang in women's doubles, men's doubles Cai Yun and Fu Haifeng and the mixed doubles team of Zhang Nan and Zhao Yunlei.

But the format for the $500,000 tournament makes it harder for China to win all five titles, as it is restricted to the top eight in each category but no more than two from one country.

Players in each event will be divided into groups of four during round-robin play starting on Wednesday, with the top two in each group advancing to Saturday's semi-finals.

Denmark's Carsten Mogensen and Mathias Boe will look for their second straight men's doubles title and China's Zhang Nan and Zhao Yunlei are seeking to repeat in mixed doubles.

In women's doubles, Chinese title-holders Yu and Wang have won seven Superseries titles and became the first shuttlers in history to win four consecutive Superseries events.

Besides the lucrative prize money, players will also be competing for valuable qualifying points for the London Olympics.

Topics : Badminton
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