Xi'an (China) Sep 18: World No. 10 Shi Yuqi came out the first male shuttler to win a singles title at China's National Games after Lin Dan, whose retirement put an end to his 16-year dominance in the quadrennial event.
The 25-year-old Shi took just 39 minutes here on Friday to beat Jiangsu teammate Lu Guangzu 21-9, 21-13 in the final.
Shi thus opened a new chapter for badminton at the country's premier multi-sport event, as the all-time leading Lin had begun a reign in 2005 and defended his crown successfully three times in a row.
"I had my chance to win the title four years ago, but Lin Dan was then the better one," Shi said at a post-match press conference, recalling his memory of losing a two-set final to Lin in Tianjin in 2017.
"I can still vividly remember how tense every nerve in my body was when facing Lin Dan in the final. And four years have passed, I'm much more confident in myself and that has helped me win this final," he added.
Chen Long, the current top male shuttler of China with an Olympic gold medal from Rio 2016 under his name, had never entered the men's singles final in his five outings at the National Games.
The 32-year-old, representing the southeast province of Fujian, conceded a 21-11, 21-9 defeat to Shi in the semifinals before withdrawing from Thursday's bronze medal match citing an excuse of injury.
Shi, however, disagreed with the saying that his era is coming.
"No meaning to say whose era it is. What I'm always doing and will go on is to become a better player, like Lin Dan and Chen Long," he said.