From David Chelliah
Rio: World number one Datuk Lee Chong Wei made short work of his opponent in his bid to win the country’s first ever Olympic gold medal with an effortless win in a Group A match at Pavilion 4, Riocentro here today.
Sizing up for his showdown with nemesis Lin Dan of China, Chong Wei took just 18 minutes to sweep past Soren Opti, 19, of Surinam 21-2, 21-3 in the opener and would meet Singapore’s Derek Wong Zi Liang on Sunday.
As the top seed here, Chong Wei receives a bye in the round of 16 and is likely to meet Taiwan’s sixth-seed Chow Tien-chen in the last eight before a showdown with two-time back-to-back gold medalist Lin Dan in the semifinals.
“It was a good start but I didn’t put in much as it was against an opponent who didn’t really test me. However, I was focused since I wanted to kick-start my campaign. I have put in four years of preparation into this and I want to make sure I do my best here.
“I am feeling the court more and my condition is good….I like the wind conditions in the stadium as the shuttle travels slower,” said the 33-year old shuttler who launched his fourth and final bid to deliver a maiden gold medal for Malaysia.
In an earlier match, Lin Dan, the third seed, opened his third title defence with a 2-0 win over Austria’s David Obernosterer in Group E.
He took 34 minutes to crash his opponent 21-5, 21-11 and is scheduled to meet Vietnam’s Nguyen Tien Minh in his second group match on Sunday.
Asked about the pressure in defending the gold medal, Lin Dan said: “I wake up and go to work each morning and feel fresh,” said Lin Dan who was spotted wearing gold coloured shoes.
“Nothing special about the shoes…it’s attractive and shiny…just like the Olympic gold,” he said.