Malaysia's Mohd Arif Abdul Latif shouts with delight in the semi-final men's singles badminton match against Singapore's Loh Kean Yew at the Singapore SEA Games. - FAIHAN GHANI/ The STAR
SINGAPORE: Chong Wei Feng heaved a huge sigh of relief after checking into the men’s singles final.
The 28-year-old shuttler had to fight tooth and nail before clinching a sensational 13-21, 21-18, 21-15 win over top seed Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk of Thailand in the semi-finals at the Singapore Indoor Stadium on Monday.
It was a sweet victory for the Kedahan after struggling for form over the last few months. It was so bad that he was contemplating quitting the national team after being dropped for the World Championships in August.
But Wei Feng slogged for his win. He made a terrible start and had to work hard for the 54-minute win.
“It feels good to make the final. It may be just the SEA Games but it’s a breakthrough for me since I’ve never made any individual final before,” said Wei Feng.
“After losing the first game I doubted myself a little but coach Morten (Frost) (pic, above - BERNAMA) told me to stay in it and keep pushing.
“It’s definitely a significant win since Tanongsak is a good player.
“Now I’m guaranteed a silver, but I will aim to win the gold,” added Wei Feng.
Malaysia are assured of a gold as world No. 36 Wei Feng will meet compatriot Mohd Arif Abdul Latif in today’s final.
Arif fought well to stop Penang-born Singaporean Loh Kean Yew with a 22-20, 21-15 win.
“After letting the team down during the team event, I’m just grateful to those who kept my spirits up,” said Arif.
“It’s an all-Malaysian final with Wei Feng and I hope the best player wins,” added Arif.
It was, however, heartbreak for 15-year-old Goh Jin Wei (pic, below) as she lost to Indonesia’s Hana Ramadhini in the women’s singles semi-finals.
Jin Wei, who stunned second seed Nichaon Jindapon of Thailand in the quarter-finals on Sunday, struggled with cramps but fought hard before succumbing 21-16, 12-21, 18-21 in 66 minutes.
The 20-year-old Hana will take on top seed Busanan Ongbumrungpan of Thailand for the gold medal.
“It was a really tough match for me because I had cramps and I couldn’t move well,” said a dejected Jin Wei, who is making her SEA Games debut.
“I managed to hang on, but I made too many mistakes towards the end. Although I’m disappointed to lose, I’m quite satisfied with my performances here as I managed to reach the semi-finals. But I need to work harder especially on the physical aspect of my game,” said Jin Wei, whose bronze was Malaysia’s first medal in the women’s singles since 2009.
The pint-sized shuttler also won a silver in the team event. Malaysia lost 3-0 to Thailand in the final.
*pic by FAIHAN GHANI/ THE STAR
The Star Online