Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Chong Wei cool in defeat

LEE Chong Wei was handed a reality check in last week’s Indonesia Open but the World No 1 is confident he will bounce back from the semi-final defeat to Japan’s Kenichi Tago in upcoming priority tournaments.

The 32-year-old denied that age and fatigue were the cause of his rare loss to Tago, saying the World No 4 Japanese deserved the win.

Undeterred, the defeat has made Chong Wei even more determined as he shifts his focus to becoming champion for the first time in the World Championships in Copenhagen on Aug 25-31 and the Incheon Asian Games on Sept 19-29.

The three-time All England winner’s first target is next month’s Glasgow Commonwealth Games, where he should easily win his third straight gold medal.

However, the defeat to the 24-year-old Tago is a wake-up call for the ageing Malaysian, who must now work harder to remain as a contender for the Olympic title in 2016.

“I am in perfect form. I did not lose to Tago because of my physical condition. Tago was aggressive and I lost. It is normal for a shuttler to sometimes lose,” Chong Wei told www.antaranews.com on Sunday.

Chong Wei will compete in fewer tournaments to avoid injury before the Olympics. “I need to plan my tournaments. My dream is to end my career with the Olympic gold. Win or lose, I will retire in 2016,” said the 10-time Malaysian Open winner.

But injury may not be Chong Wei’s only concern ahead of the Olympics as his nemesis Lin Dan could be in Rio de Janeiro bidding for a third gold as the China ace has returned to competition full time this season.

Meanwhile, Liew Daren will start his campaign in the qualifying round of the Australian Open in Sydney today. The World No 52 opens against Australia’s Low Pit Seng. If he wins, Daren will face either compatriot Chiang Jiann Shiarng or Australian Jeff Tho for a spot in the main draw.

Zulfadli Zulkiffli is the only Malaysian in the main draw while newly crowned Indonesia Open champion Jan O Jorgensen of Denmark and Tago are the top two seeds.


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