New Delhi, Aug 15 (IANS): Beating Chinese badminton legend Lin Dan in front of his home crowd was World No.1 Lee Chong Wei's best chance to become a World Champion, feels Malaysian national coach Rashid Sidek.
"This was Lee's best chance to win the title as Lin Dan was coming from a long break and was out of match practice. He played well in the first game while Lin Dan came back in the second. However, he started cramping up in the middle of the third game and came and told me," Sidek, who is the coach of Delhi Smashers in the Indian Badminton League (IBL), told IANS.
Lee, who will be playing for Mumbai Masters in the IBL, retired with cramps during the the marathon one hour and 34-minute final Sunday to give the title to arch rival Lin Dan.
The Chinese, a wild card entrant, was on match point (16-21, 21-13, 20-17), when the top seeded Malaysian started cramping up and gave it up.
Sidek, who was along side Lee during the final, feels it was the World No.1's best chance to get the World Championship title.
Sidek, an Olympic silver medallist, wondered why the the air conditioning at the Tianhe Indoor Stadium in the Chinese city of Guangzhou was switched off mid-way through the second game.
“Lee had to sweat a lot as it was a long match. Also, because of some strange reason the air conditioning was also switched off for the final which caused Chong Wei a lot of problems. He can try again next year but this definitely was his best ever chance,” added the 1996 Atlanta Olympics silver medallist.
Lee for the second consecutive time had to settle for a silver, having lost the 2011 final also to "Super Dan".
The two greats set up the summit meet nearly an year after their classic showdown at the 2012 London Olympics that was also won by the the Chinese legend. In London, Lin Dan also became the first player in history to successfully defend his title.
With the title, Lin Dan becomes the most successful and decorated player in the history of the sport with five championship titles in the same category.
The Malaysian top seed failed to break the jinx of straight losses against Lin Dan, who beat him in the last two Olympic finals and also in the previous World Championship title clash. Lin Dan now leads their head-to-head 22-9.
Lee had to be escorted to the hospital after cramping up and skipped the medal ceremony.
Lee, who is also the Mumbai Masters’ icon player, will miss his first IBL tie against the Banga Beats here Thursday because of a bandaged ankle and will arrive in here Friday night. The 30-year-old was bought by the Masters for a whopping $135,000 at the players’ auction.