SINGAPORE: What a turnaround!
First, he ended Malaysia’s 14-year wait for a SEA Games badminton gold medal in men’s singles.
Second, he buried the ghost of a disappointing campaign in Myanmar two years ago.
That’s world No. 36 Chong Wei Feng for you.
And the scrawny 28-year-old from Sungai Petani, Kedah, did it in style - blowing team-mate Mohd Arif Abdul Latif (pic, below, left) away with a 21-8, 21-9 win at the Singapore Indoor Stadium on Tuesday.
This is in contrast to the Myanmar Games. Then, as the top seed, he suffered a shocking first-round defeat.
Wei Feng, who’s been battling for form for most of the year, almost quit the sport after being dropped from the World Championships by the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM).
The Kedahan, however, proved that he’s found his form at last.
Wei Feng started well to lead 11-1 in the first game and it was all over as a contest in just 29 minutes.
“Maybe Arif didn’t play so well. He made a lot of mistakes and that made it easy for me,” said Wei Feng.
“It’s a gift for Malaysia, coming up with the gold medal that’s been missing for 14 years ... but I just want to focus on improving.
“It means a lot to me as well, winning the gold medal. I had a lot of forgettable moments, especially last month’s world meet issue ... I felt very low, mentally.
“Now, my focus is to go on and try to qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympics. It will be tough because everyone is chasing for points as well.
Wei Feng will now join former world No. 1 Lee Chong Wei at the Canada Open from June 23-28.
While Wei Feng delivered Malaysia’s 62nd gold medal, mixed pair Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying could only deliver a silver.
The former world No. 3 went down fighting to world No. 11 Praveen Jordan-Debby Susanto 21-18, 13-21, 23-25.
“We fought hard and had our chances, yet we failed to take them. It’s a waste really ... to lose like this,” said Peng Soon.
Overall, Malaysia finished the badminton competition in second place with two golds, three silvers and two bronzes.
Indonesia came up tops with three gold medals.
*pic by FAIHAN GHANI/ The STAR
The Star Online