Badminton Life

Xie Willing to Wait for Lin

They were the golden couple of the Olympics and the darlings of the fans in China.

Many thought wedding bells were in the air for Olympic men's singles gold medallist Lin Dan and his girlfriend Xie Xingfang, the Beijing silver medallist and world number one.

But Xie has admitted that marriage has to be put on hold while she continues her career in international badminton.

Chinese news agency Xinhua reported that Xie, who took a break after the Olympics along with Lin, will not give up her career for marriage just yet.

"I want to try to compete with a relaxed mind and really enjoy playing badminton in future," said Xie. "If I can manage to do this and adjust myself well, I will continue my sports career."

Xie was the favourite to win gold at the Olympic Games, where she was the top seed. But she did not count on defending champion Zhang Ning saving her best for Beijing.

There was some compensation, however, as her boyfriend Lin Dan took the men's singles gold by defeating Malaysia's Lee Chong Wei in the final.

Xie's main target for next year is gold at the 11th National Games next year, when she will represent Guangdong province.

"At the last National Games, Guangdong was the strongest team at that time, but failed to win gold in the team finals, so the team expects me to continue to help them claim the gold next year," Xie was quoted as saying.

With Zhang now retired, Xie, 27, has become the most experience member of the national team. It is her job to groom the young players and help them with their progress, a task she is confident of doing well.

"I'm now the oldest member in the women's team but I feel no pressure so far. Some young players also did a good job recently."

As for marriage, she is happy to wait until both she and Lin are ready to make the move. Lin still has a long career ahead while Xie also has goals to achieve.

A few Chinese Olympians decided to get married after the Beijing Games finished, with table tennis player Wang Nan, fencing gold medalist Zhong Man and taekwondo player Chen Zhong tying the knot.

Said Xie: "Their weddings were pleasant and sweet. But right now we will not think about it as Lin is still focusing on his sports career. I can understand and will support him."

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