SEVILLE, Spain, AFP
Peter Gade’s dreaded title jinx struck again as veteran Indonesian Hendrawan scored an upset victory to win the men’s singles world badminton crown here Sunday. Second-seeded Danish star Gade – aiming to make up for failures at the Olympic Games and 1999 world championships – was shut out 15-6, 17-16 by underdog Hendrawan in a dramatic final at the San Pablo Stadium. Hendrawan, who won silver at last year’s Sydney Olympics, collapsed to the floor with joy after Gade fluffed a return at the end of a thrilling second game. A distraught Gade could not hide his disappointment, burying his face in a towel and slumping to his chair dejectedly. Later a jubilant Hendrawan admitted he had been lucky to even be in the final after compatriot Taufik Hidayat withdrew with an injury after their clash in the last four on Saturday. “I was fortunate to get here after what happened to Taufik. I hope this is a ood present for him,” Hendrawan said.
“I knew I could beat Peter, but I just had to stay confident,” the 29-year-old said.
“I started playing well in the first game and didn’t stop,” said Hendrawan, who admitted he had been close to packing in badminton after his Sydney campaign last year. Marriage – and a word from his wife – changed his mind. “I thought after Sydney that maybe I was on the other side of my career, going down. But I thought about it and talked with my wife and realised I could continue,” he said. While Hendrawan was left to bask in his brilliant success, a shattered-looking Gade was pondering yet another major title that his slipped from his grasp. “I’m very disappointed. I lost one match in two weeks of badminton, and unfortunately it was the world championship final,” the 24-year-old said. “I was playing well, I was confident and I gave my best but it was just too little this time,” he said. “Hendrawan was brilliant at the net. He took risks and he took chances and he got the reward for it. It was just not to be today,” said Gade. “This is only badminton, life goes on and I will come back from today,” he added. Gade had struggled from the first game, unable to respond as Hendrawan rattled up leads of 7-0 and 14-2 before finally winning 15-6. Gade came back briskly in the second and raced into a 5-0 lead. But problems on serve dogged him and Hendrawan slowly came back before powering into a 10-5 lead. Gade was not to be counted out however. He battled back from 12-10 down to hold a game point at 14-13. But he was unable to convert and square the match, and squandered another game point with the scores locked at 16-16. Hendrawan’s nerve held and he converted his third match point when Gade hashed his return. The gold was Indonesia’s second of the day. Earlier doubles duo Tony Gunawan and Halim Haryanto had shot down South Korea’s reigning world champions Kim Dong-Moon and Ha Tae-Kwon 15-0, 15-13.