PETALING JAYA: Here is a mind-boggling score: Lin Dan 90-Malaysians 15.
That’s how dominant the just-retired Chinese badminton legend has been against Malaysia – he has only lost 15 times in 105 meetings and only three Malaysians have ever beaten him!
The three are his perennial rival Lee Chong Wei, Liew Daren and Ong Ewe Hock, who beat Lin Dan when he was an upstart just rising through the ranks.
According to the Badminton World Federation’s (BWF) official head-to-head records, the two-time Olympic champion Lin Dan has simply rolled over his Malaysian opponents throughout his 20-year career.
A total of 23 Malaysians have crossed paths with the legendary “Super Dan” at least once at some point, and 20 have nothing to show but defeats.
Only three have the bragging rights.
Chong Wei managed to muster 12 wins in 40 encounters, while Ewe Hock beat him twice in four meetings and Daren managed just one win in three meetings.
Both of Ewe Hock’s wins came in the quarter-finals of the Malaysian Open – in 2001 and 2002 – while Daren upstaged the five-time world champion during the opening round of the Korean Open last year.
The other top Malaysian singles shuttlers found Lin Dan just too hot to handle and this included former world No.1s Wong Choong Hann and Roslin Hashim, as well as former All-England champion Hafiz Hashim.
Choong Hann and Roslin lost all their eight meetings while Hafiz marked his winless record with nine losses.
Choong Hann, now the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) coaching director, suffered his two defeats in two major finals, the 2003 China Open and 2007 China Masters.
Hafiz conceded that Lin Dan was in a class of his own.
“It was hard to play against him in his peak... just too good, too superior, ” said Hafiz, who lost to Lin Dan in the 2005 German Open final.
“Even at times when you feel like you have the edge over him, he’d somehow always be able to turn things around.
“I could never forget the China Masters (second-round match) in 2011. I was already on the verge of victory as I was leading 18-13 in the second game (he won the first 21-14), but I ended up losing 19-21. In the decider, he outplayed me 9-21.
“It could have been a win to cherish really. It wasn’t only because I had not beaten him before. I thought it would’ve been awesome to beat him after he had just been crowned world champion (for the fourth time).
“That was my last time going up against him. Although I have not beaten him, it’s still a great honour to have played in the same era as him. He’s truly a legend, the greatest of all time.”
Former world No. 2 Ewe Hock echoed Hafiz’s sentiment, saying he was fortunate to play Lin Dan four times before quitting in 2004.
“When I played against him in early 2000s, he was already the China’s No. 3 after Xia Xuanze and Bao Chunlai, ” said Ewe Hock, a two-time Malaysian Open winner.
“I might have beaten him as a rising star, but honestly I would say he was already world class at that time. He was so powerful, quick and eager to impress. I had to defeat him with my experience.
“I knew he was destined to be the next big thing of world badminton. True enough he went on to conquer the world.”
How they fared:Lee Chong Wei 28-12,
Ong Ewe Hock 2-2,
Liew Daren 2-1,
Hafiz Hashim 9-0,
Wong Choong Hann 8-0,
Roslin Hashim 8-0,
Yeoh Kay Bin 5-0,
Chong Wei Feng 4-0,
Lee Tsuen Seng 4-0,
Sairul Amar Ayob 4-0,
K. Yogendran 2-0,
Ramesh Nathan 2-0,
Zulfadli Zulkiffli 2-0,
Yong Hock Kin 1-0,
Salim Sameon 1-0,
Pei Wei Chung 1-0,
Mohd Hashim 1-0,
Cheam June Wei 1-0,
Hafiz Hasbullah 1-0,
Hazwan Jamaluddin 1-0,
Goh Soon Huat 1-0,
Kuan Beng Hong 1-0,
Chong Yee Han 1-0
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