Denmark’s Viktor Axelsen swept the men’s singles Olympic trophy on Monday, unseating Chen Long of China who claimed the title at the Rio 2016 Olympics.
Axelsen and Chen, two of the world’s most brutal smashers, ended their match 21-15, 21-12 after nearly an hour of flash shots and mesmerizing rallies. Afterward, Chen embraced and spoke in Chinese with Axelsen, who was still sobbing when he left the court.
“He told me that I deserved it, and my performance here has been great. which I said ‘Thank you so much and that he has been an enormous inspiration to me,” said Axelsen, who had just hung up from a call with Frederik, the prince of Denmark.
Chen had been trying to become the second Chinese man during a row to win back-to-back Olympics within the sport. Lin Dan won gold at the 2008 Beijing and 2012 London Games.
Indonesia’s Anthony Sinisuka Ginting took bronze, beating gutsy Guatemalan world number 59 Kevin Cordon 21-11, 21-13.
Ginting’s win gave Indonesia two medals on the ultimate day of badminton after Greysia Polii and Apriyani Rahayu claimed gold within the women’s doubles.
They beat China’s Chen Qing Chen and Jia Yi Fan 21-19, 21-15 for Indonesia’s first Olympic title in women’s doubles, and therefore the country’s first trophy of the Tokyo Games.