From David Chelliah
Rio de Janeiro: Untested Datuk Lee Chong Wei enroute to his final bid for the gold medal began at the Rio Olympic Games when he breezed through into the quarterfinals here Sunday.
In the last Group A match, he took 35 minutes to top the group when he ended Singapore’s Derek Wong Zi Liang’s campaign with 21-18, 21-8.
However, Chong Wei, the top seed, received a bye in the last 16 stage and would likely meet either Taiwan’s Chou Tien Chen or Hong Kong’s Hu Yun in the last eight on Wednesday.
Asked about the waiting time to play between each stage, Chong Wei said: “I would prefer to play daily and finish the tournament but I just have to keep my focus…this is Olympics, unlike Super Series.”
Having extended breaks between his matches demanded total focus for the real challenge as the nation waited for the first gold medal, said the 33-year-old shuttler in his fourth Olympics appearance.
“I just have to cope with it. It’s the Olympics and I want the gold, so does the whole nation too…I have to focus in the coming stages,” he said after his match at the Pavilion 4, Riocentro here.
Chong Wei began his Olympics campaign by beating Soren Opti from Surinam 21-2, 21-13 on Thursday.
Meanwhile, women’s singles Tee Jing Yi ended her second Olympic campign in tears after suffering a left calf injury miday in the first set before bowing out to Japanese Akane Yamaguichi 21-18, 21-5 in Group K tie.
Having come to Rio with a hope to go beyond the group rounds, Jing Yi was leading 17-15 when she leapt to make a shot and landed with a pain on her calf.
Quick medical attention on the court did not show improvement and Akane, the two-time world junior champion, took advantage to win the first set 21-18.
In the second set, Jing Yi was in agnosing moment but continued with a 21-5 loss as Akane advanced to the next knock-out stage.
“This could be my final Olympics and I prepared well. I came to Rio with the target of giving the best but luck was not on my side,” said the 25-year-old Jing Yi who failed in the group match in the 2012 London Olympics.
She said she was injury-free before charting her fortunes here and hinted that Rio could be her last in Olympics.
“Tokyo 2020 in another four years down the road and I don’t know if I can carry on. I am disappointed with what has happened in Rio and will take a break first,” said the teary-eyed shuttler.
She said she would decide in a week or two as there was the SEA Games next year and the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
Meanwhile, mixed doubles Chan Peng Soon-Goh Yiu Ling will play Poland’s Robert Mateusiak-Nadiezda in the quarterfinals later today (7.30am M’sian time Monday).