Chong Wei Feng cuts a dejected figure after losing to India's R.M.V Gurusaidutt in the men's singles quarter-finals at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games on Friday. - BERNAMA
GLASGOW: Jamaica sprinter Kemar Bailey-Cole – the training partner of the world’s fastest man Usain Bolt – won the 100m gold medal at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games.
Malaysia’s Chong Wei Feng and Liew Daren – the training partners of world No. 1 shuttler Lee Chong Wei – were a disgrace as they fell in the quarter-finals of the men’s singles event at the Emirates Arena.
On Friday, top seed Wei Feng lost 15-21, 21-8, 17-21 to India’s R.M.V Gurusaidutt – thus dashing Malaysia’s hopes of winning a gold medal at the Games.
Wei Feng was the only man standing after team-mate Daren had earlier bowed out 13-21, 14-21 to P. Kashyap, also of India.
Malaysia have never failed to win a gold medal in the Commonwealth Games since Rashid Sidek did it at the 1990 Games in Auckland – a domination that spanned for 24 years.
On Friday night, even Rashid, who is now the coach of these two players, was seen shaking his head in disbelief.
India used to be the whipping boys in the Commonwealth Games’ men singles event. Now, their players stand a chance of delivering the country’s first gold since Syed Modi at the 1982 Brisbane Games.
The 27-year-old Wei Feng, who did quite well at the Thomas Cup Finals in May and steered the team to the gold medal in last week’s mixed team event, was at a loss trying to explain his inconsistency.
Wei Feng, counted on to deliver the goods in the absence of two-time Commonwealth Games champion Chong Wei, admitted that he had made the gravest of mistakes.
“I’m so sorry … we have never lost in the men’s singles event for many years. I know this means a lot to us,” said Wei Feng, who had never lost to Gurusaidutt in their previous four meetings.
But, this time, the Indian raised his game, piled on the pressure and kept fighting till the end.
Asked if he found the pressure of replacing Chong Wei too much to handle, Wei Feng replied: “We won the mixed team title without Chong Wei.
“So, it’s not that. Even before the Games, I knew that I had a few tough opponents in my path.
“I had never lost to Gurusaidutt before … but he played very well. I blew it in the rubber game when I allowed him to win seven points in a row … that demoralised me.”
This is the second time that Wei Feng has crumbled under the weight of expectations in Chong Wei’s absence.
He had also failed to come good in the individual event of the Myanmar SEA Games.
Wei Feng admitted that it would not be easy to recover from the latest setback as he prepares for the World Championships in Copenhagen from Aug 25-31.
“It is demoralising to lose in the Commonwealth Games. People will talk … but I have no control over that. I need to fight back and regain my confidence and restore their faith in me,” said Wei Feng.