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September 24, 2000
China's joy is Indonesia's grief
China's badminton joy at the Sydney Olympics was Indonesia's grief over failed expectations, especially in the prestigious men's singles.
Badminton-crazy Indonesia had the highest hopes in the event, particularly after failing to win a medal in it four years ago in Atlanta.
Not only did China's Ji Xinpeng win the men's singles, but China took four golds and eight of the 15 medals on offer.
Indonesia still did well, winning one gold and two other medals in Sydney but ran into an inspired Ji, who broke Indonesian hearts twice in the men's singles.
He convincingly beat a surprisingly flat Taufik Hidayat, the top seed, in the quarter-finals and downed second seed Hendrawan in the final.
The 19-year-old Hidayat went into the tournament with the weight of his country on his shoulders, but he had struggled in his earlier matches before being brushed aside 15-12, 15-5 by Ji.
"I am very disappointed. I was too impatient," said Hidayat, who strained all week to live up to his number one billing, needing three sets in both his earlier round games.
"His skills are a little better than mine along with his physical strength. I tried my best and that proved enough," Ji said.
The final was no different, with Ji beating Hendrawan 15-4, 15-13 in 45 minutes.
Hendrawan said he did not play well, but added he hoped to compete in Athens in four years.
"I'm already 28 years old, I trained very hard and a long time for this Olympics. I am not very disappointed that I won only the silver medal, but the next Olympics I hope to try again," he said.
China also won the women's doubles, the women's singles and the mixed doubles.
Only Indonesia's Tony Gunawan and Candra Wijaya broke the stranglehold, taking the men's doubles.
It was Indonesia's fourth Olympic gold, with the others also coming in badminton since the sport made its Olympic debut in Barcelona in 1992.
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