Saturday, 29 March 2014 | MYT 5:53 PM
Sad and painful end for Wei Feng
Chong Wei Feng (left) leaving the Pasir Gudang Municipal Stadium after picking up a back injury ahead of the semi-finals. - ABDUL RAHMAN EMBONG / The Star
PASIR GUDANG: Sadness was written all over the face of Malaysia’s No. 2 shuttler Chong Wei Feng.
His dream of a first international success was dashed when he had to concede a walkover in the semi-finals of the Malaysian Open Grand Prix Gold at the Pasir Gudang Municipal Stadium on Saturday after picking up a back injury while warming up for his match against India’s Sourabh Varma. The injury was so bad that he could not even bend to retrieve a shot.
The 22-year-old Sourabh will now be out to win his first title when he takes on Indonesia’s Simon Santoso, who battled hard for his 21-12, 19-21, 21-18 win over Thammasin Sitthikom of Thailand.
Wei Feng, who had the best chance to reach his first final and win his first Open title, was clearly dejected.
“It was the hardest decision for me to make as I really wanted to do well here ... but the back problem restricted my movement,” said Wei Feng.
He had been feeling the stiffness on his back over the last two days and the hard-fought rubber game victories over Derek Wong of Singapore (in the third round) and R.M.V Gurusaidutt of India (quarter-finals) made it worse.
“I sought the advice of the doctor and he told me that I could risk having a tear if I had played on. I have a few majors coming up and I didn’t want to take that gamble.”
Wei Feng will rest for the next few days before heading to the Indian Open Superseries in New Delhi, starting on Wednesday. He has also been earmarked for the Thomas Cup Finals in May and the Commonwealth Games in July.
Asked about the lack of Malaysia’s singles players showing promise in the GP Gold and the continued dependence on world No. 1 Lee Chong Wei, Wei Feng said: “Our junior, Soo Teck Zhi, did reasonably well to reach the quarter-finals but he lost to Simon. There is still a gap but, I believe, we are heading in the right direction.
“I’m the second ranked player after Chong Wei but I’m not going to put undue pressure on myself by looking at the gap in standard that exists between us.
“I’d rather focus on myself and try to improve the best I can,” added the 26-year-old Wei Feng, who will take on Sho Sasaki of Japan in the first round at the Indian Open.