Lee Yang and Wang Chi-Lin – Taiwan’s First Badminton Olympic Gold Medalists

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Taiwan left an impression on the badminton world when Tai Tzu Ying ruled the world rankings for 214 weeks. With a reign this long, it’s hard to fathom a feat that would add to Taiwan’s reputation as a badminton powerhouse. However, in 2021, a Taiwanese men’s doubles team would make history for Taiwan. This history-making pair is none other than the men’s doubles duo of Lee Yang and Wang Chi-Lin.

Lee Yang and Wang Chi-Lin shocked the world when they snatched victory at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The win at the Olympics was Taiwan’s first Olympic gold medal in badminton. The victory propelled the duo to instant stardom, securing them a place in Taiwanese and world badminton history. Yang and Chi-Lin are also multiple-time Badminton World Federation (BWF) World Tour titleholders, winning their first title together in 2019 at the Barcelona Spain Masters. They also won the World Tour Finals in 2020, becoming one of the few Taiwanese badminton players to win a World Tour Finals title. Before pairing up, Yang and Chi-Lin experienced success with different partners, winning major titles in both men’s and mixed doubles.

Without a doubt, this duo is on its way to becoming one of the sport’s hottest teams. Join me as we take a look at the up-and-coming careers of Taiwan’s Lee Yang and Wang Chi-Lin!

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Lee Yang’s Early Life

Lee Yang was born in Taipei, Taiwan, on August 12, 1995. Growing up, he was an active child, pursuing different sports. When he turned ten, Yang tried badminton under his father’s influence.

He started playing badminton in his primary school as a way to pass the time. As with most children who experience the joys of the badminton court, Yang grew obsessed with the sport.

Wang Chi-Lin’s Early Life

Wang Chi-Lin was born just months earlier than Yang. Also born in Taipei, Chi-Lin was born on January 18, 1995.

Chi-Lin’s badminton experience began when he was nine. His parents encouraged him to try badminton. Over time, the young Chi-Lin showed promise in the sport.

In his adolescence, Chi-Lin idolized certain badminton players, like Indonesia’s Hendra Setiawan and later South Korea’s Lee Yong Dae.

Lee Yang’s Early Senior Achievements With Lee Jhe-Huei

Yang debuted as a senior player in 2013. Early in his career, he played men’s and mixed doubles. His first senior outing was at the 2013 Maldives International Badminton Challenge. At the tournament, he paired with Chiang Yu-Wei for the men’s doubles event and with Lin Xiao Min for the mixed doubles event.

In both events, Yang made it past the round of 16 stages. However, he had better results in the men’s doubles event, advancing as far as the quarterfinals.

Yang competed in several other tournaments in 2013 and 2014 but failed to turn in podium finishes. However, his luck changed in 2015.

In 2015, Yang formed a partnership with Lee Jhe-Huei. The newly formed pair took home silver at the 2015 Malaysia International. The 2015 title victory gave the men’s doubles badminton pair the boost of confidence they needed heading into their 2016 campaign.

Yang kicked off his 2016 campaign with his new partner at the 2016 Vietnam Open. Yang and Jhe-Huei bagged their first gold medal at the tournament after defeating Malaysia’s powerhouse duo Koo Kien Keat and Tan Boon Heong. The win was special for Yang as it was against two of his badminton idols.

Yang and Jhe-Huei retained their winning ways as they tore through the 2016 BWF Grand Prix circuit. The pair followed up their win at the Vietnam Open with title victories at the Dutch Open. At the 2016 Dutch Open, they defeated Denmark’s Mathias Christiansen and David Daugaard to win their second title.

Yang and Jhe-Huei won their third Grand Prix title at the 2016 Macau Open. At the tournament, the Taiwanese duo defeated China’s Lu Kai and Zhang Nan in a match that went the distance.

Wang Chi-Lin’s Early Senior Successes With Tien Tzu Chieh, Chen Chung Jen, and Chen Hung Ling

Wang Chi-Lin debuted as a senior badminton player in 2013. Early in his career, he experienced much success, partnering first with Tien Tzu Chieh. The duo played their first tournament at the 2013 Maldives International, advancing to the finals in their first outing.

In the final, Chi-Lin and Tzu Chieh faced Indonesia’s Arya Maulana Aldiartama and Alfian Eko Prasetya. The Taiwanese duo proved too formidable for the Indonesian team, dominating the men’s doubles final in straight sets. The victory gave Chi-Lin his first senior men’s doubles title.

Parting ways with Tzu Chieh, Chi-Lin paired with Chen Chung Jen for the 2013 Singapore International. Reaching the finals again, Chi-Lin and Chung Jen defeated the Malaysian duo of Jagdish Singh and Roni Tan Wee Long. The match was long, but eventually, Chi-Lin and Chung Jen defeated the Malaysian team 21-16 in the third game to give Chi-Lin his second BWF International Series title.

The medal haul didn’t stop there. Chi-Ling went on to win another title with Chung Jen at the 2013 Polish International.

One of Chi-Ling’s most successful runs took place between 2015 to 2018. During this period of his career, he paired up with Chen Hung Ling. Together, they won three Grand Prix titles: the 2017 China Masters, the 2017 Chinese Taipei Open, and the 2017 New Zealand Open.

In 2018, they won their first titles on the World Tour circuit, bagging victories at the 2018 New Zealand Open and Chinese Taipei Open.

2019 — Lee Yang and Wang Chi-Lin’s Partnership

Despite tasting success with different partners, Lee Yang and Wang Chi-Lin parted ways with their old partners after 2018. The search for new partners eventually led them to each other in 2019.

The newly formed duo debuted at the 2019 Barcelona Spain Masters. At the tournament, Chi-Lin and Yang dominated the men’s doubles event, breezing to the finals in their first outing.

Awaiting them in the finals were South Korea’s Kim Won Ho and Seo Seung Jae. In straight sets, Chi-Lin and Yang dispatched their South Korean opponents to win their first World Tour title in their first match together!

The newly formed partnership proved fruitful as the pair followed their Spain Masters win with more podium-worthy finishes. They bagged an impressive runner-up finish at the 2019 Swiss Open before chalking up another World Tour title at the 2019 Orleans Masters.

After the Orleans Masters, Yang and Chi-Lin competed at the 2019 India Open. They breezed to the finals, leaving a trail of defeated teams in their wake. In the finals, they faced the up-and-coming Indonesian team of Ricky Karanda Suwardi and Angga Pratama.

Yang and Chi-Lin made short work of their Indonesian opponents. After the 29th minute, they won the match and their third World Tour title.

Later that year, Yang and Chi-Lin competed at the 2019 U.S. Open. The pair advanced to the finals to face South Korea’s Ko Sung Hyun and Shin Baek Cheol. The two teams forced the match into a third game. In the end, a critical error on the part of Yang and Chi-Lin would hand the South Korean team the third game. Nevertheless, their performance at the tournament won them the runner-up position.

Hungry for redemption, Yang and Chi-Lin took another swing at a World Tour title. Months after the U.S. Open, the pair competed at the 2019 Korea Masters. They faced and defeated many of the world’s best teams to advance to the final where they faced Malaysia’s Goh V Shem and Tan Wee Kiong.

The match was fierce. Yang and Chi-Lin won the first game narrowly, but the Malaysian team rallied from behind to win the second game 22-20.

The third game could have gone either way, with both teams tying at 19 points. In the end, Yang and Chi-Lin capitalized on the Malaysian team’s errors to establish the critical two-lead to win the third game, the match, and their fourth World Tour title.

More Success on the BWF World Tour

Coming off a successful 2019, Yang and Chi-Lin embarked on their 2020 campaign confidently. They kicked off the year with an impressive performance at the 2020 Barcelona Spain Masters, where they took home silver.

They followed their performance up with a stellar showing at the 2020 All England. They earned a bronze medal finish at the oldest and most competitive open badminton championship.

Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic paused what appeared to be a trajectory toward another World Tour title. With mass gatherings and sporting competitions banned, Yang and Chi-Lin had to take a break.

Luckily, competitions resumed in 2021. They kicked off their 2021 campaign at the Thailand Open. At the Yonex Thailand Open, Yang and Chi-Lin dominated the men’s doubles event, reaching the finals after defeating Choi Sol Gyu and Seo Seung Jae in the semis.

In the finals, they faced Goh V Shem and Tan Wee Kiong. The two teams had already faced each other, with Yang and Chi-Lin as the better team. Like their previous meeting, Yang and Chi-Lin dominated the match, winning their first World Title of the year.

Their success didn’t stop there. At the Toyota Thailand Open, which took place two days later, the Taiwanese team captured another World Tour title. They won in straight sets after Malaysia’s Aaron Chia committed a crucial error while returning Chi-Lin’s lob.

If you want to see the thrilling Thailand Open final, check it out here!

With back-to-back victories in hand, Yang and Chi-Lin set their sights on a title that had eluded them since 2019 — the BWF World Tour Final title. At the 2020 BWF World Tour Final, Lee and Wang breezed through the round-robin stages to advance to the final. Awaiting them were Indonesia’s Hendra Setiawan and Mohammad Ahsan.

Yang and Chi-Lin established dominance early on, winning the first game 21-17. With the World Tour Final title within their grasp, they showed the Indonesian team no mercy and won the second game 23-21. The victory gave them their first World Tour Final title — a first for Taiwan!

While their achievement in the Asian leg of the World Tour was a feat in itself, Yang and Chi-Lin would make headlines with their next history-making feat!

Olympic Gold

Taiwan had never won an Olympic Gold medal in badminton. That changed on August 2, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan.

At the 2020 Olympics, Lee Yang and Wang Chi-Lin competed as an unseeded pair, meaning that all eyes were on the top pairs in men’s doubles badminton. Their unseeded status required them to go through the round-robin stages, which they breezed through with no problems.

Advancing to the semis, they faced Hendra Setiawan and Mohammad Ahsan for the second time. Like their previous encounter, the Taiwanese team gained the upper hand over their competition, dominating the semifinal match. As a result, Yang and Chi-Lin advanced to the finals in their Olympic debut.

In the finals, they faced the in-form Chinese duo of Li Jun Hui and Liu Yu Chen. Despite the strength of the Chinese team, Yang and Chi-Lin’s skills were apparent early on.

In the first game, they beat the Chinese team 21-18. The second game was no different. Yang and Chi-Lin took the second game decisively, shocking the badminton world after the 32nd minute.

They had done it. Lee Yang and Wang Chi-Lin won Olympic Gold for themselves and their country. The Olympic victory sent shockwaves across the men’s doubles badminton world, making Yang and Chi-Lin the first Taiwanese team to win in the Olympics!

Lee Yang and Wang Chi-Lin: At the Forefront of Taiwanese Badminton

Lee Yang and Wang Chi-Lin haven’t been playing together for a long time. But one thing is for sure, if their early success is an indication of what’s to come, they’ll be one of the top men’s doubles teams to watch.

Yang and Chi-Lin had already cemented their places in history for what they’ve done for Taiwanese badminton.

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