NAYPYITAW: There was disbelief written all over shuttler Chong Wei Feng’s face on Tuesday.
He became his own worst enemeny when he let slip a chance for a golden debut in the SEA Games after losing 19-21, 12-21 to A. Suppanyu of Thailand in the opening round of the men’s singles competition at the Wunna Theikdi Indoor Stadium C.
“It is my first SEA Games and I lost to Suppanyu for the first time in the first round. It is a SEA Games to forget,” said a disappointed Wei Feng.
“I came with the huge ambition of winning the title here but I have allowed the pressure to get to me. I did not raise my standard today and paid a heavy price for it.
“I have beaten Suppanyu twice before without much fight but today, I made so many mistakes and gave him the room to slam down winners.”
The 26-year-old agreed that he had been slapped with a tough draw from the start but he did not want to offer it as an excuse for his defeat.
“I was taken aback when I saw that I had three strong opponents as company when the draw was announced (on the eve of the competition). It did put some pressure on me. It is not an excuse,” said Wei Feng in between coughs.
Asked whether he had been affected by illness, Wei Feng brushed it off, saying: “I was sick before I came to Myanmar. But my defeat here has nothing to do with it.”
Two others in his half of the draw – top seed Nguyen Tien Minh of Vietnam and Dionysius Hayom Rumbaka of Indonesia will take on Suppanyu and Kyi Min Aung of Myanmar respectively in the quarter-finals on Wednesday.
Wei Feng hopes that his younger compatriot Iskandar Zulkarnain Zainuddin will keep the flag flying high for the nation after checking into the quarter-finals with a 21-12, 21-10 win over Nguyen Hoang Nam of Vietnam.
Malaysian Open Grand Prix Gold semi-finalist Iskandar will be out to defy odds against Indonesia Wisnu Yuli Prasetyo next.
“He has a rather easier path in the bottom half of the draw and I hope he will go far in the competition,” said Wei Feng, who will now focus on getting ready for the South Korean and Malaysian Opens next month.
“Ending the year without a SEA Games gold medal is disappointing but I will not allow it to dampen my spirit. I will get back on my feet with stronger performances next season,” he added.
Malaysia’s challenge also have been reduced to one in the women’s singles when only Yang Li Lian made it to the quarter-finals for a match against Bellatrix Manuputty of Indonesia.
It was a good outing for Malaysia in the doubles when both representatives in the men’s doubles, women’s doubles and mixed doubles made it to the quarter-finals.