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Xuerui Li of China stands on the podium with her Gold medal following the Women''s Singles Badminton Gold Medal match on Day 8 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Wembley Arena on August 4, 2012 in London, England. Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images
Li Xuerui’s ‘incredible effort’

17 Oct 2012
In the 13th in our series of 20 OCA Award-winners for outstanding achievement at the London 2012 Olympic Games, China’s women’s singles badminton champion Li Xuerui is the athlete of the day. China’s Li Xuerui produced an incredible effort to beat compatriot and world champion Wang Yihan and win the gold medal in the Olympic women's singles badminton. Li, the third seed, won 21-15 21-23 21-17 to become the fourth Chinese winner of the event in consecutive Olympics.

The 21-year-old right-hander from Chongqing had two gold medal points in the second game but Wang saved both before setting up a decider. Analysing the final for the BBC, Gail Emms, a former Olympic badminton player, said: “That was an incredible effort from Li. I don't know where she got the energy from in the third game because she was really struggling.”

Speaking about her victory, Li said: “Winning gold is a happy, exciting moment but the glory shouldn't be for me alone, it should be for the whole Chinese team. Together with my teammate we played brilliantly, and presented an exciting match for the audience.” Li also said that she had to dig deep for victory.

"Friends who know me well will be aware that I have these physical stamina problems," she added. "I'm not that physically strong. Yesterday I was also quite tired but you can never underestimate the aspirations of an athlete wishing to achieve a gold medal. That kind of persistence and determination to keep going made sure I achieved the gold medal today."  
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