So close yet so far for senior shuttler

Wan Seong (left) and Then Lin practising for the tournament.
Wan Seong (left) and Then Lin practising for the tournament.

IT WAS so close and yet so far for veteran shuttler Chan Wan Seong, who missed two finals in the 102nd All-England Seniors Open Badminton Championships by a whisker.

Wan Seong said it was bad luck that he got ill two days before his international outing.

“I was stricken with cold and a throat infection due to the unusually cold weather in London.

“With a weakened physical condition, I could not perform well,” he said.

In the round robin of the Men’s Singles 60-64 years category, he beat two England players in straight sets to top his group and advance to the elimination stage.

“In my semi-final match, I faced the third-forth seed and the 2012 Men’s Singles 55+ Champion Christer Forsgren of Sweden.

“I narrowly lost 20-22 after leading 20-17 in the first set.

“We deuced at game point in the second set when I was feeling very weak and gasping for air due to my blocked nose and I eventually lost 23-25.

“The match lasted 42 minutes and even if I had won the second set, I would have had to retire in the rubber set due to my weakened condition,” he said.

The tournament was held from April 13 to 15 at the Hertfordshire University Sports Complex, Hatfield in England.

On the second match day, Wan Seong partnered another seasoned player Ong Then Lin in the Men’s Doubles 60-64 years category.

Wan Seong took revenge when they defeated Swedish pair Christer Forsgren and Cheddi Liljestrom 21-17, 21-15 in the group match-up and topped the group.

In the semi-final match against second-seeded English pair Trevor Hampson and Phil Richardson, Wan Seong and Then Lin were edged out in an energy-sapping three sets – 21-17, 19-21, 19-21 – after a thrilling battle lasting 67 minutes.

Wan Seong and Then Lin came into the tournament as the highest-ranked singles players on account of their results in major international seniors tournaments last year.

Both were joint Bronze medallists in the Men’s Singles 60-64 years category at the 2017 BWF World Seniors Badminton Championships.

Meanwhile, debutant Tan Boon Kiat failed to advance to the elimination stage after finishing second in his Men’s Singles 55-59 age group category round-robin matches.

London-based Malaysian Eddy Ong Choo Poh was also eliminated at the group stage in the Men’s Singles 60-64 years category, whilst he and Ong Sin Oong failed to progress from the group stage in the Men’s Doubles 65-69 years category due to the strong opposition.