Another heroic Danish performance has denied a world-ranked top pair a shot at a gold medal in the London 2012 Olympics.
World No. 1 Korean duo, Chung Jae Sung and Lee Yong Dae – favoured to battle for the Men’s Doubles title in Wembley Arena – were this morning left to contemplate the possibility of a bronze medal after inspired resistance from Mathias Boe and Carsten Mogensen.
Coming from a game behind, the world No. 3 Danes (featured image) fell to the court in jubilation, unable to fathom the amazing feat they had just pulled off, as they clawed back to beat their higher-ranked rivals, 17-21 21-18 22-20. Earlier, world No. 2 pair Cai Yun and Fu Haifeng, ensured every final would have at least one Chinese representative, by holding off Koo Kien Keat/ Tan Boon Heon of Malaysia, 21-9 21-19.
In a match that was among the most exciting seen at these Olympics, the Koreans seemed to have things under control for much of the encounter. They kept a handy lead throughout the first game and, although Denmark made it 13-all at one stage, the Koreans powered on to take it 21-17. Both Lee Yong Dae and Chung Jae Sung looked sharp and agile, expertly covering up the spaces and firing powerful winners.
Boe and Mogensen got better as the match progressed. The two are big hitters but today they also showed the subtle elements of the doubles game, playing several delicate shots at net and smashing at every opportunity. The second game was neck-and neck throughout, until Denmark earned second game point when Mogensen played a brilliant defensive shot behind his back to surprise the Koreans.
The momentum derived from winning the second game propelled the Danes and they moved from 6-3 to 8-4. Chung Jae Sung and Lee Yong Dae evened the score 10-all and moved ahead into a one-point lead, but the Danes were tenacious. Boe and Mogensen were particularly classy with their serves and returns, keeping the shuttle so tight over the net that the Koreans had no option but to play defensively. The latter saved one match point but could not deny the Danes the second.
Lee Yong Dae was in tears after the match.
“Even though we prepared for this match a lot, it was much harder than we thought,” he said. “They played really well today. We got more and more nervous throughout the game.”
His teammate Chung Jae Sung was hopeful of returning home with at least the bronze medal. “We’re disappointed of course, but we need to forget this quickly and focus on tomorrow’s match. It is going to be my last match ever and I wish to finish it on a positive note.”
Denmark coach Claus Poulsen said Boe and Mogensen never gave up hope even though they had lost the first game.
“We’ve played a lot of long three-game matches against the Korean pair so we knew we could win,” he said. “We went a bit behind in the second game but we fought our way back. We never gave up. We played the best game we could, as we always do. Tomorrow will be no different.”