Liew Daren during the Thomas Cup in New Delhi in May. He has been included in the Commonwealth Games badminton squad as Lee Chong Wei's replacement. - Filepic
KUALA LUMPUR: Liew Daren reckons Commonwealth Games glory will serve as a perfect redemption for his Thomas Cup disappointment.
On Monday, Daren was handed his Games debut after he was picked to replace injured world No. 1 Lee Chong Wei.Malaysia have been dominating the men’s singles gold medal since the 1990 Auckland Games, and Daren is fully aware of the task ahead.
In May, Daren failed to fulfil the nation’s hope of ending the 22-year Thomas Cup drought after losing to Takuma Ueda in a three-set decider of the final in New Delhi. Japan went on to clinch a 3-2 victory.
Daren has yet to get over the disappointment and last month he suffered two early round exits in two back-to-back tournaments.
He lost in the first qualifying round to China’s Lin Dan at the Japan Open and subsequently a second round exit to Ueda at the Australian Open.
“I’m eager to pick myself up from the Thomas Cup setback, things have not got any better since then,” said Daren.
“I’m looking to redeem myself and now I have a real chance of doing so in Glasgow. It’s a big assignment for me, the Games is held every four years and I know how important it is.
“I will not let the nation down again. I’m dreaming of an all-Malaysian final, I believe (Chong) Wei Feng and I are capable of making that happen.”
When asked about the pressure of replacing Chong Wei as a gold medal prospect, he said: “The pressure is nothing new to me, it’s always been like that in the past few years, so I’m not too bothered about it.
“Most importantly, I’m in good condition, feeling fit and raring to go.”
Meanwhile, Rashid Sidek will be heading to the Games after all.
On Saturday, the national singles chief coach revealed he turned down a team leader role from the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) and will skip the July 23-Aug 3 multi-games event.
Although he did not reveal the reason, it is believed that Rashid, the 2012 National Coach of the Year, is unhappy with the BAM’s management for interfering with his job as well as not being given the full power in decision-making.
Yesterday, he turned up at the contingent’s flag-handing ceremony and said he will be joining the team as a coach, not team leader.
“There were some issues (with the management), but it has been solved,” admitted Rashid without elaborating.