Sunday January 13, 2013
Chong Wei keeps Malaysia’s flag flying with berth in the final
By RAJES PAUL
KUALA LUMPUR: It may be a new year but it’s the same old story for Malaysian badminton.
World No. 1 Lee Chong Wei again came to the rescue for Malaysia in the international scene when he marched into the men’s singles final of the US$1mil Korean Open in Seoul yesterday.
The defending champion and top seed beat Hong Kong’s Wong Wing Ki 21-11, 21-18 in 34 minutes to set up an intriguing showdown against Du Pengyu of China.
The 24-year-old Pengyu, who is growing to be a tough nut to crack, made short work of Indonesia’s Sony Dwi Kuncoro for a sensational 21-12, 21-17 win in the other semi-final.
Chong Wei is the sole Malaysian left in the tournament following the exits of top men’s doubles pair of Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong.
World No. 2 Kien Keat-Boon Heong failed to justify their top billing after losing 17-21, 11-21 to the powerful South Korean duo of Ko Sung-hyun-Lee Yong-dae.
National singles coach Tey Seu Bock was pleased with 30-year-old Chong Wei’s continued commitment to keep the Malaysian flag flying high.
He hopes Chong Wei will be able to avenge his defeat to Pengyu.
Last month, Chong Wei lost to Pengyu for the first time at the BWF’s World Super Series Finals in Shenzhen, China, before pulling out from the tournament with a thigh injury.
“I’m not saying that the final is going to be easy for Chong Wei. It’ll be challenging as Pengyu has shown marked improvement. He is more consistent now,” said Seu Bock.
Seu Bock said he wouldn’t be surprised if Chong Wei continued to hold the fort for Malaysia throughout this season.
“Our back-up players are coming up but they haven’t attained the same standard as Chong Wei. We’ll have to bank on Chong Wei to carry the nation’s hope for the next one to two years,” he said.
Meanwhile, China are assured of two titles in the women’s doubles and mixed doubles.