PETALING JAYA: It was a painful blow to shuttler Loh Wei Sheng’s hopes to guarantee a Youth Olympic Games medal for Malaysia in badminton when he limped out of the boys’ singles semi-final match against Pisit Poodchalat at the Singapore Indoor Stadium last night.
The Asian junior runner-up was forced to concede a walkover to the Thai while trailing 3-11 in the rubber game after having sprained his ankle in the second game, which he won 21-19. Wei Sheng had lost the first game 13-21.
Wei Sheng, who stepped out of court in the second game to seek treatment for the injury, had to throw in the towel when the pain became unbearable in the decider.
It remains to be seen whether Wei Sheng will be able to recover in time to play in the bronze medal playoff match against Kang Ji-wook of South Korea tonight.
Top seed and world junior runner-up Ji-wook was beaten 21-19, 17-21, 17-21 by H.S. Prannoy of India in the other semi-final.
The Badminton Association of Malaysia coordinator for the junior programme, How Kim Tho, said that it was unfortunate for Wei Sheng was not able to fight all the way for a place in the final.
“He beat the Thai in a tough quarter-finals match at the Asian Juniors this year. If Wei Sheng was not injured, he could have put up a stronger fight in the rubber,” he said.
“Pisit has the ability to run down his opponent and I think Wei Sheng knew he was not fit to take him going into the rubber game. We will only know more on his condition after he seeks treatment.”
Thailand may be celebrating double joy tonight as Taerattanachai Sapsiree reached the final in style by beating Vietnam’s Vu Thi Trang 21-18, 21-8. She will play against Deng Xuan for the gold medal.
The Chinese defeated Sarah Milne of Britain 21-12, 21-12 in the other semi-final.
In swimming, Sukma (Malaysia Games) gold medallist Lai Wei Li was out of depth as she posted 2:09.66 for eighth place in Heat 2 of the girls’ 200m freestyle.
Sailor Khairuneeta Afendy continued to stay in touch with the frontrunners, taking sixth spot in the girls’ one-person dinghy after four of the 16 races. Sailing takes a break today.
Pole vaulter Fahmi Zam Zam goes into action today to make the bid to qualify for the final.