China's badminton superstar Lin Dan was booed Sunday by spectators as he apologised for pulling out of the Singapore Open men's final against compatriot Chen Jin because of gastric flu.
His withdrawal overshadowed compatriot Wang Xin's 21-19 and 21-17 win over Tine Baun of Denmark in the women's final at the Super Series tournament.
Lin's apology, made right after the women's final, was drowned out by boos from the crowd of over 7,400 at the Singapore Indoor Stadium who had been hoping to see the Chinese ace in action against Chen -- who took the title by a walkover.
"I can understand the reaction from the crowd just now," Lin, who is affectionately known as Super Dan to his legions of fans, said at a press conference.
"I will come again next year to Singapore."
It was the first time in Lin's career that he had pulled out of a final.
"The China team manager had informed me that Lin Dan is ill and unable to play in the men's singles final," said tournament referee Ernest Robinson.
"Lin Dan has seen the tournament doctor, who has confirmed that Lin Dan is suffering from gastroenteritis."
A senior official with the Badminton World Federation (BWF) acknowledged the crowd had the right to be upset with Lin's last minute withdrawal but credited the Chinese star for making a personal appearance to apologise.
"I think the crowd has the right, they buy the tickets to come to enjoy the match and it's no way we can control the crowd's thinking," said Paisan Rangsikitpho, the BWF deputy president
"He came out in the centre court, apologised to the fans. I think whatever it is, you have to give him big credit, brave enough to come out and the crowd booed him, he took it," he told a media conference.
Lin, the world number two and Olympic champion, said he felt unwell in the middle of the night after his tough three-game win over veteran Dane Peter Gade on Saturday 20-22, 21-17 and 21-15.
"I gulped down lots of cold water (after the match) and was really uncomfortable when I went to bed," he said.
Lin, who leads the head-to-head series 9-5 over Chen, was favourite for the Singapore title after arch rival and world number one Lee Chong Wei decided to give the event a miss.
The Singapore Open is the fifth leg of the 12-stop series with the top eight men's and women's singles players and doubles pairs qualifying for the season-ending tournament in December.
Lin is the most successful player in badminton history, having won almost every major title in the game.
The Super Series season-ending tournament is the only prestigious trophy missing from his cabinet.
Chen, the reigning world champion, said he sympathised with Lin's situation.
"I knew of Lin Dan's condition this morning and I understand his decision," said the 25-year-old.
In the women's final, Wang won her first Super Series title of the year over Baun, who had advanced into the final after upsetting world number one Wang Shixian of China.
"I have never played a final in Singapore so I am very happy," said the world number two, who plays left-handed.
Victory for Wang was secured after Baun, a former two-time All England champion, netted a smash from the Chinese.
"I think she was mastering the draught better than me," said Baun.
"Sometimes I missed judgments up here (and) it was very difficult today, it is the same for both players."
In the first action of the day, Indonesia's Tantowi Ahmad and Liliyana Natsir overcame Chen Hung-ling and Cheng Wen-hsing of Taiwan 21-14, 27-25 to take the mixed doubles crown.
But the Chinese players dominated there on as shuttlers from the Asian nation also won the women's and men's doubles titles in straight games.