WORLD No. 1 Lee Chong Wei finally has something memorable to bring home from his third trip to India after beating Rajiv Ouseph of England 21-10, 21-8 to retain the men’s singles gold medal yesterday.
Chong Wei took just 30 minutes to finish off the world No. 17 to become only the second Malaysian player to win back-to-back men’s singles crown after Rashid Sidek, who won in 1990 (Auckland) and 1994 (Victoria).
Chong Wei did not drop a single game in the competition, which was not surprising, as he was clearly a class above the rest.
It has been an easy campaign but Chong Wei was nevertheless happy to come out a winner after his last two miserable outings in India.
Chong Wei came down with food poisoning at the India Open last year and was bundled out by Chen Long of China in the first round. He then had high hopes of landing the first world title for Malaysia as the top seed in Hyderabad but was eliminated by Sony Dwi Kuncoro of Indonesia in the quarter-finals.
Chong Wei was delighted that all turned out well in probably his last appearance in the Commonwealth Games.
“The level here is not as high as in my previous competitions but I’m happy to maintain my performance to secure the gold for Malaysia,” said Chong Wei, who beat Olympic champion Lin Dan of China to win the Japan Open last month before arriving in New Delhi.
There had been doubts earlier on whether Chong Wei was fit enough to lead Malaysia’s campaign in the Delhi Games after suffering a back injury in his quarter-finals exit at the world championships in Paris in August.
Chong Wei, who skipped the China Masters to recover from the injury, said that he was glad to make the trip.
“It would have been tough on Mohd Hafiz Hashim as the pressure would have been on him to win in my absence ... India’s Kashyap Parupalli and Chetan Anand were playing well,” he said.
As it turned out, Hafiz was beaten by Parupalli in the quarter-finals. Parupalli went on to bag the bronze by beating compatriot Anand in the playoff on Wednesday.
Chong Wei will skip the Super Series Open tournaments in Denmark and France later this month to prepare for the Guangzhou Asian Games in which he will seek to improve on the bronze medal he earned in 2006 edition in Doha.