Badminton Life

Bad Boys Lin and Taufik Aim for Fireworks at Thomas Cup

The bad boys of badminton - Lin Dan and Taufik Hidayat - will be competing with each other not only to win the tournament but to capture the spotlight.

China's world number one Lin and Indonesia's Olympic champion Taufik have clashed with each other and with their own egos in recent years.

Lin has had a fiery 2008 so far, nearly getting physical in the final of the Korean Open in January, when he lost to local player Lee Hyun-il.

He almost attacked Lee's coach before being held back. More recently, he was reported to have pushed his own coach, Ji Xinpeng, during a training session.

Taufik has a long history of wayward behaviour, from pulling out of tournaments in a huff to firing verbal volleys at the Indonesian badminton establishment.

Both players will be looking for glory at the Thomas Cup, which is the final major tournament before the Olympic Games in Beijing in August.

For Lin, this is a testing year. He lost his All England men's singles title to compatriot Chen Jin and his public spats have turned many fans against him.

Internet chat rooms were filled with discussions about whether or not Lin should even be in the Chinese squad of the Olympics.

One fan was quoted by the China Daily as saying: "The coaching team and chief officials have spoiled Lin. He should have been kicked out of the team earlier."

Lin, though, has denied he ever struck Ji but later apologised for his behaviour.

"Originally I thought this was a very minor matter. But then it was affecting the reputation of the badminton team so I apologised to the coach," he said.

However, his most famous fights have been with Taufik, the highlight being the 2006 Asian Games when the Indonesian launched into Lin, calling him arrogant and unfriendly.

Taufik beat him in the final but Lin refused to attend the post-match news conference because he would have had to sit next to the Indonesian.

They may be unpopular with some fans but if they were to clash in the Thomas Cup,? it is almost certain that the spectators will flock to the arena to witness one of the greatest rivalries in badminton history.

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