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Lin Dan claims hard-fought opening victory at National Games

(Xinhua)    10:57, August 31, 2017

Lin Dan were pushed to three sets before winning his first match at the 13th China's National Games here on Wednesday, only three days after his World Championships loss to Denmark's Viktor Axelsen.

The badminton competitions at the National Games, billed as China's mini Olympics, includes men's and women's team events, singles and doubles events.

Lin, representing the team of Beijing, were stretched but eventually clinched the victory over Sheng Xiaodong of Tianjin 18-21, 21-15, 21-7 in the opening round of group match in men's team event.

"Just now I'm afraid of getting asleep on the court because of the jet lag. But this is a problem facing all of my teammates of the national team who just took part in the World Championships. We have to overcome it," said Lin, who had to settle for silver after losing 20-22, 16-21 in the World Championships final to Axelsen.

After the World Championships, the 33-year-old Lin and his Chinese teammates came back directly from Glasgow, Scotland to Tianjin, 140 kilometers southeast of Beijing, the host city of China's 13th National Games. They arrived in Tianjin yesterday and most of them start to play their first match at the National Games today.

Lin is always dominant at the National Games, held every four years. He has participated in four National Games since 2001 and entered all of the four men's singles finals. He won gold medals in 2005, 2009 and 2013, and will fight for a fourth consecutive crown at the Games for yet another record.

"This should be my last National Games. I have played at the Games for 20 years," said Lin.

"I'm a bit tired now, but I will try my best in both men's team and men's singles events. However it will be very difficult as some young talents from provincial team and national team have prepared for the National Games for a long time."

The team of Beijing, also including Olympic and world champion Zhang Nan, eventually beat Tianjin 3-0.

Besides Lin, Rio Olympic gold medalists Chen Long, Fu Haifeng and Zhang Nan, newly-crowned world champion Chen Qingchen, and other shuttlers who have recently retired from international competition such as Wang Shixian and Wang Xiaoli also represent their respective home provinces or municipalities in the country's premier sporting event.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Du Xiaofei, Bianji)

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