Tokyo Olympics | Axelsen dethrones Chen for gold

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Denmark’s Viktor Axelsen won the Olympic badminton gold on Monday in Tokyo, becoming the first non-Asian man to win the singles title since 1996.

World No. 2 Axelsen beat China’s defending champion Chen Long 21-15, 21-12, taking control early and never loosening his grip in a relentless performance.

Axelsen, who won bronze at the 2016 Rio Games, followed in the footsteps of compatriot Poul-Erik Hoyer-Larsen, the Atlanta Games champion and the last winner from outside Asia.

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In attendance

Hoyer-Larsen, now world badminton’s president, was in the arena to watch Axelsen match his achievement.

World No. 6 Chen was bidding to emulate fellow Chinese Lin Dan in retaining his title. But Axelsen held his nerve with the prize in sight, then broke into disbelieving sobs when Chen hit the final shot long.

Earlier, Greysia Polii and Apriyani Rahayu won the women’s doubles, breaking a Chinese stranglehold and claiming Indonesia’s first title of the Games. The pair beat China’s Chen Qingchen and Jia Yifan 21-19, 21-15.

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China had won every women’s doubles gold but two since badminton’s debut at the 1992 Games, but the Indonesians came flying out of the blocks and never let up until the final point.

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