National shuttler Chong Wei Feng is the top seed in the badminton men's singles tournament at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games starting on Wednesday. - AFP
PETALING JAYA: World No. 20 Chong Wei Feng has one thing on his mind at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games – erase the choker’s tag once and for all.
The crafty lefthanded shuttler has improved by leaps and bounds over the past two years, rising from world No.1 Lee Chong Wei’s shadow to be a dependable competitor in tournaments.
But the 27-year-old Wei Feng, who has yet to win an international title, has fallen short twice when it mattered most.
In the SEA Games last year, the Kedahan, who was the top seed, was bundled out in the first round by Thailand’s Suppanyu Avihingsanon.
In the Thomas Cup Finals in May, Wei Feng crumbled under pressure to lose to Kento Momota as Malaysia lost 3-2 to Japan in the final.
With Chong Wei having pulled out from the Commonwealth Games due to a thigh injury, Wei Feng has possibly the best opportunity in his career to come good for once.
And Wei Feng, again been given the top billing, believes he has learned his lesson in dealing with the pressure after the defeat to Momota.
“The pressure is always there and it’s always tough to handle, but I learned my lesson after losing to Momota,” said Wei Feng.
“Now, I am stronger mentally and physically and I’m prepared to give my best shot to win.
“Malaysia have always delivered a singles gold in the Commonwealth Games and I want to keep that tradition.
“I will not fall so easily this time although it’s still a tough competition, especially with strong opponents from India. Thus, my target is to make it into the semi-finals first and take it from there.”
Wei Feng’s main challengers will be the Indian trio of second seed P. Kashyap, fourth seed K. Srikanth and fifth seed R. M. V. Gurusaidutt.
England’s Rajiv Ouseph is also a tricky customer as the No.3 seed.
Malaysia also have Liew Daren, who is seeded seventh, in the fray.
The Malaysian shuttlers, who arrived in Glasgow on Saturday, have been set a modest target of two golds.