Jakarta: Top seed Chen Long retained his crown at the badminton world championships in Jakarta on Sunday, depriving Malaysia`s Lee Chong Wei of a gold medal in the men`s singles for a fourth successive time.
Lee entered the final hungrier than ever for his elusive world crown but could not unsettle the Chinese world number one, who stormed to a 21-14, 21-17 victory in just over an hour.
Chen, who has already won four titles in a stellar season this year, wept and kissed the court as his final triumphant smash sailed home.
His win spelt agony for Lee, who had to settle for his fourth consecutive silver medal.
Barely anything separated the kings of the sport as they sparred at electrifying speed in the first set.
But at 12-all Chen turned up the heat with a series of blistering smashes that left Lee trailing.
After being steamrollered 21-14 the Malaysian put up a brief fight early in the second. But Chen refused to yield, taking seven unanswered points and establishing a comfortable lead.
The speed and accuracy which Lee utilised with deadly effect against lesser opponents in this tournament failed to have an impact until later in the second game, when the gap between the two narrowed to 17-15.
But in the end Chen was unstoppable, sending a smash directly at Lee`s feet to seal the deal.
Lee entered the competition unseeded for the first time in years after returning from an eight-month doping ban. His comeback had pundits tipping he would take gold in Jakarta.
But Sunday`s match may have been his last shot at victory, with the 32-year-old shuttler having hinted at retirement.