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The Olympics Badminton event was held at the Wembley Arena next to the Stadium (where some of the Olympics football matches were played). Wembley is located in the Northwest corner of London and is well knwon to any Brits, football fans or rock concert-goers.

We went on Day 7 of the games and there were three matches in our session in the afternoon. The first two were semifinal men’s single matches. Don’t miss the videos towards the end of this post.

In the first match, one player was the World no. 1 ranked player (I think) from Malaysia – Chong Wei Lee (in grey shirt). The other was Long Chen –  from China in red.

The Malaysian was clearly the better player and won the match without much difficulty (21-14 in the second set). The Malaysian supporters were very vocal and even louder than the Chinese.

The second match was between China’s Dan Lin and South Korea’s Hyun Il Lee – another semifinal. A Chinese fan sitting not far from me was yelling “Zhongguodue jiayao” which means literally “Chinese team – Add oil” a cheer that is commonly heard around the games.

Dan Lin won this match to advance to the final and met Chong Wei Lee. Dan Lin later beat Chong Wei Lee and won the gold medal on Day 9.

The last match was played between two Chinese teams – Nan Zhang and Yunlei Zhao versus Chen Xu and Jin Ma. It was the mixed doubles final.

This is a clip of one of the many fast-paced rallies I managed to capture from a distance. I think badminton doubles are much more fun to watch than singles, just the opposite of tennis. In this match, the average rally lasted 9 seconds with 8 strokes played and for the earlier Dan Lin v Hyun Il Lee match, the average was 10 seconds with 8 strokes – actual statistics proving that the pace in a doubles game is more frantic. Watch it in full screen.

In the end, the Chinese team in yellow (Zhang and Zhao) won the gold medal (17-21 in the second set). I think the red team’s female player was the weakest player as her returns often resulted in a punishing smash from the other side.

The victory ceremony followed 5-10 minutes after the final match was concluded. The bronze medalist was the Danish team.

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