Newly crowned Tokyo Olympics men’s singles champion Viktor Axelsen said he ‘let his body do the work’ after he convincingly saw off the challenge of Chen Long to win the coveted gold medal.
Axelsen’s 21-15, 21-12 success ended Denmark’s 25-year wait for a gold medal since current Badminton World Federation (BWF) president Poul-Erik Hoyer achieved it in the 1996 edition in Atlanta.
The lanky world number two was imperious throughout this Olympics, winning all his matches without dropping a game.
But he saved the best for last against the former champion, whom he seemed to dismantle with ease.
“Going into an Olympic final, I knew that I would be a little tense maybe, but I reminded myself that this is what I’ve trained for.
“If I have to win this I have to relax and be patient, take my opportunities and let my body do the work and let instinct take over.
“When you win an Olympic final like this in straight games against Chen Long, you can say at least you’ve been really close to your absolute best,” Axelsen told the BWF after the win.
Meanwhile, Chen Long was gracious in defeat.
“Since the first day here, every match was played according to plan. I couldn’t win the gold, but I’m still the second best,” he said.
Both shuttlers will take a short break before preparing for what is lined up to be a grueling World Tour after this.
At least 12 top-tier events are scheduled between now and the year end, including the Sudirman Cup and the Thomas & Uber Cup.