Rio de Janeiro, Nov 25 (IANS) China’s five-time world champion and dual Olympic gold medallist Lin Dan praised Rio 2016 preparations after a dominant opening performance at the badminton test event.
The 32-year-old needed just 22 minutes to sweep aside Brazilian Igor Ibrahim 2-0 (21-12, 21-5) at the Riocentro venue here on Tuesday, Xinhua reported.
Having been described as the David Beckham of badminton, Lin was the centre of attention on Tuesday and attracted a large gathering of journalists after his match.
“The games are getting closer and it’s important to get to know the venue,” Lin said.
It was not just the press and fans who were drawn by Lin’s charisma.
Rival players were also keen to meet the man considered by many as badminton’s greatest ever player.
Among them was Brazil’s 72nd-ranked Ygor Coelho, who defeated Jarolim Vicen in his opening match.
“It was my birthday present,” Coelho said of his meeting with his idol.
“It is three years since I last celebrated my birthday in Rio. I’m very happy to have won in front of my home fans and to have met Lin Dan,” the Brazilian said.
Lin will be aiming for a hat-trick of Olympic gold medals next August, having triumphed in Beijing in 2008 and London four years later.
The November 24-29 test event, which is officially called the Yonex Brazil Grand Prix, includes 90 athletes.