PETALING JAYA: Although he failed to capitalise on the opportunity when it mattered most, Liew Daren is undaunted by the painful setback in his career.
His defeat to Japan’s Takuma Ueda in the crucial third singles saw Japan winning the Thomas Cup for the first time.
In fact, the 26-year-old Kuala Lumpur-born shuttler, who was one of the first few players in Project 2016 squad for the Rio Olympics under the charge of Rashid Sidek, vows to rise from the occasion a stronger person and not to go down the path of Kuan Beng Hong.
After three gruelling games, Liew went down to world No.25 Ueda, which had echoes of the Thomas Cup semi-final between Malaysia and Denmark in 2006.
The score was tied 2-2 and Malaysia needed the then 23-year-old Kuan to deliver the vital point in the third singles against an unheralded Joachim Persson.
But Kuan, who was ranked No.12 in the world, buckled under pressure and Denmark went on to make the final. His career never recovered from that defeat.
“I definitely do not plan to walk the path of Beng Hong,” said world No.66 Liew, who was Malaysia’s Thomas Cup captain.
He also lost two earlier group matches against India and Germany.
“I know there will be criticism but they can say anything they want because I can take it.
“I went into the match against Ueda with the only objective of at least winning one match in the tournament and I tried my best.
“This defeat will not break me and my next goal is to improve on my rankings and regain some confidence,” he added.
Liew also thanked Datuk Lee Chong Wei for putting his name up as the team captain for Thomas Cup 2014, saying that it had been a valuable lesson for him.
With no new badminton talent emerging from Malaysia, Liew, who was once ranked as high as No.10 in the world and won the French Open Super Series in 2012, may still have a role to play in the immediate future.
Heartfelt welcome for returning shuttlers
No cup but they still made us proud