KUALA LUMPUR: World No. 1 Lee Chong Wei will not allow his shock defeat at the India Open to disrupt his preparations for the London Olympics.
The first thing he intends to do is restore order by defending his title in the Malaysia Open Grand Prix Gold in Johor Baru starting tomorrow.
On Sunday, Malaysia’s Olympic gold medal prospect Chong Wei went down to South Korea’s Shon Wan-ho 18-21, 21-14, 19-21 in an error strewn final in New Delhi.
It was his first defeat to world No. 17 Wan-ho, who is being groomed to take over from his more illustrious compatriot Lee Hyun-il when he quits after the London Games.
Chong Wei, who was competing in his first tournament after picking up a shoulder injury at the All-England in March, gave due credit to his South Korean opponent, who will turn 24 in a couple of weeks.
“I went to India without any high expectations after the injury and the outcome clearly showed that I still have some work to do,” said Chong Wei, who arrived home yesterday.
“This Korean player defeated Peter (Gade Christensen) and showed steely determination throughout the tournament.
“He deserves all the credit for it. I didn’t help myself by making a lot of mistakes in the final. I plan to bounce back as a stronger person.”
Chong Wei, who started the year by winning the South Korea and Malaysia Opens, said the setback would motivate him further to strengthen his preparation for the Olympics.
“The qualifying period has ended with the India Open and I’m happy that I will be going to the Games as the top seed. The India Open showed that I still need to work on certain areas of my game and I will continue to do just that,” he said.
“My priorities right now are the Thomas Cup Finals (in Wuhan from May 20-27) and the Olympics.”
Top seed Chong Wei will be gunning for his third Malaysia Open GP Gold title to maintain his impeccable record at home in this second tier tournament.
“I do feel tired but I always look forward to playing in front of my home crowd. I will carry on with my plan to defend my title,” said Chong Wei.
“Besides, all my training partners will be in Johor and it is only right that I’m there as well. The tournament itself will be a good training platform for me,” added Chong Wei of the tournament, which has not attracted big names.
He should accomplish his mission successfully as his two main challengers are Indonesia’s Sony Kuncoro and second seed Nguyen Tien Minh of Vietnam.
In the men’s doubles, Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong will also get a chance to make a quick rebound. The defending champions, who lost to Angga Pratama-Ryan Agung Saputra of Indonesia in the quarter-finals in India last week, will have to fend off a host of back-up pairs from the local and international front.