China, Taiwan and Japan strike gold at Asia Championships

Chen Long of China hits a return against compatriot Shi Yuqi during their men's singles semi-final match at the 2017 Badminton Asia Championships in Wuhan, Hubei province on April 29, 2017

Rio Olympic gold medallist Chen Long beat his Chinese team-mate Lin Dan in the men’s singles final on Sunday to win his first Badminton Asia Championship and boost his claims for a berth at the world championships.

The 28-year-old Chen had not won a tournament since last year’s Olympics but ended his barren run in timely fashion when he came from behind to beat Lin 21-23, 21-11, 21-10 in Sunday’s final at the Wuhan Sports Center Gymnasium.

It was his first win at the Asian Championships, one of the few major tournaments to have eluded him, after he finished on the podium six times previously.

The victory may also help his prospects of competing at this year’s world championships in Glasgow, where he would be gunning for a third successive title if selected.

He is currently ranked ninth in the world but there are three Chinese men ahead of him, including Lin. Under the qualifying rules for the world championships, countries can only enter four athletes if they are ranked in the top eight.

With the qualifying deadline having just expired, China can only enter three players in the men’s singles but the selections are up to the Chinese federation, who are not bound to follow the rankings and so could opt for Chen.

Lin, 33, beat Malaysia’s current world number one Lee Chong Wei in Saturday’s semi-finals. But Sunday's loss ended the bid by the 2008 and 2012 Olympic champion for a record-equalling fifth Asian title, which would match the feat of Ye Zhaoying who won five women’s crowns in the 1990s.

Tai Tzu-ying provided Taiwan with its first Badminton Asian champion when she won Sunday’s women’s singles final.

The current world number one took the gold when she beat Japanese teenager Akane Yamaguchi 18-21, 21-11, 21-18.

Japan’s Olympic champions Misaki Matsutomo and Ayaka Takahashi successfully defended their Asian women’s doubles title as expected, while China won the men’s and mixed doubles finals.