Team Singapore shuttler Derek Wong put up a brave fight against world number one Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia in Rio on Sunday before falling 21-18, 21-8 and bowing out of the competition.
TeamSG shuttler Derek Wong (right) with World Number One Lee Chong Wei (left). Photo: Sport Singapore
The 27-year-old Derek had previously said this would likely be his last Games and that he was now going to take a short break from the sport while he assesses his future.
Derek played some clever badminton in the first set, twice putting together four point streaks against the man who is favourite for the gold medal but in the second set, Lee showed exactly why he is ranked top in the sport with some powerful play.
“I went into the first set with nothing to lose and could rally him a bit, all over the court, which is why he made a few errors. But in the second set he played a perfect game, making just one or two mistakes It was very difficult to get him out of position and get an opening,” said Wong, who drew encouragement from his first set display.
“Against Lee Chong Wei, it isn’t easy to get four points straight. You can see in his eyes that he is really focused on every single point. This is a big Olympics for him and I think he has a bit of nerves.”
TeamSG shuttler Derek Wong in action in round 2 of the Men's Singles group play. Photo: Sport Singapore
“I was happy with the first set but in the second set, even though I was able to move him around a bit he really increased the speed and was hitting the shuttle even faster,” he added.
Derek said that despite the loss, he had enjoyed the opportunity to compete with the world’s best and to soak up the Olympic atmosphere.
“It was a good experience and I had two good games. I was able to immerse myself in the Olympic Village with different athletes from different countries, not everybody can experience this kind of atmosphere,” he said.
Derek who was silver medallist in the 2014 Commonwealth Games singles competition and also picked up bronze in the team event in Glasgow, said he was not likely to change his mind and try to compete in Tokyo in 2020.
“I don’t think so. I don’t want to block the younger generation coming up and looking to participate in the Olympics as well. I think Singapore Badminton has a plan for the next generation to step up and probably go for the next Olympics. I hope they can increase their level at a faster pace and go for it,” he said.
“I’m going to slow down or stop. It all depends. Now I have to go back and discuss with my association the further plans for my badminton career,” he said.
That doesn’t mean however that he is retiring from the sport after this loss.
“Not yet. After this, I will take a short break and then we will see,” he said.
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