A full week after carrying the flag for Team Singapore in the Rio opening ceremony, shuttler Derek Wong finally got his Olympic campaign under-way with a relatively straightforward win over Suriname's Soren Opti.
Derek claimed the opening Group A match 21-5, 21-6 at Riocentro Pavilion Four on Friday and was clearly happy to at last be in competition mode. “It is good to be under way. It was a pretty good match today. My opponent was trying to prevent me from attacking him, so he attacked first and I had to defend well,” he said.
TeamSG shuttler Derek Wong in action at his first game in the Men's Group Play. Photo: Sport Singapore
His next encounter is on Sunday against Malaysia’s world number one Lee Chong Wei.
“It was quite a good first match for me because I know that Chong Wei is going to have quite a lot of attacks as well, so this was like a stepping stone towards playing against him,” he added.
Derek had an additional test of his patience with his match being delayed for over two hours but there were no signs of frustration in what was a fairly routine victory.
“I wouldn’t say it was a warm-up. For me, I have to give my all against every single opponent. This opponent wasn’t as consistent as maybe Chong Wei or others but he did have some good net shots and that can be really threatening.
Derek also take time to reflect on the opening ceremony and Friday’s big event.
“That was a really fantastic experience for me, leading the Singapore team during the opening ceremony and also knowing that last night Joseph Schooling made it into the finals. “It makes me feel so proud - leading this contingent and having somebody like Joseph going into the finals of the 100m Butterfly, a really fantastic job. We should wish him all the best and hope that he goes for gold!”
The shuttler said he had spent the past week catching up with team-mates as well as of course - training at least twice a day, every day.
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