A HAMSTRING injury stopped R. Karunakaran’s hopes of securing a gold medal in the Asia Pacific Masters Games (APMG) 2018 badminton competition men’s singles 70 years and above category.
However, the 72-year-old Penangite carried on playing in
the final match at the Penang Badminton Association Hall despite being in pain.
He fought gallantly to down Australian Anthony Lourdes 21-16- 21-11, in the semis on Friday but following his injury, Karunakaran was no match for another Australian, Somalu Sinniya, in the final, going down 10-21, 12-21 in 22 minutes on Saturday morning.
“My priority was to win in the singles and I joined the doubles just for fun. Unfortunately I had the injury during my doubles match.
“Although I could not play at my best, especially in the final, I will not take any credit away from my opponent Somalu, who is a good player.
“It would have been a better final if not for my injury,” said Karunakaran, who was Penang badminton coach alongside
badminton legend the late Datuk Eddy Choong.
Karunakaran, who used to work in a textile company, has been playing badminton for more than 40 years.
He started training in his mid 20s and represented the Penang Amateur Gans United badminton team.
“Back then, I was the only Indian player in the squad, training with all my Chinese friends.
“The best match I played was during one of the Penang Closed badminton tournaments back in the 1960s.
“I played with poor fitness and practice due to my busy work schedule.
“However, I managed to win the first game against one of the greatest players of the time, Moh Fuh Lian, 10-3.
“I eventually lost the match, but I walked out of the court feeling proud.
“Badminton is not a cheap sport. When I worked at the textile company, I would spend about RM200-RM300 per month just to purchase a quality net and racquet.
“Now as a retiree, it’s difficult for me to spend that type of money,” said Karunakaran.
The highlight of the day was the men’s doubles 35 years and above final, involving Malaysia Badmin-ton Association representatives Muhammad Hafiz Hashim and Sairul Amar Ayob.
The badminton finals were among a handful of sports which completed their competitions on Saturday.
Later in the evening, the APMG 2018 was officially declared closed by Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow.
The closing ceremony, held at the SPICE Convention Center roof garden, was attended by participants, officials, volunteers and members of the public.
Among the highlights of the closing ceremony were the joget and boria dance performances and a fireworks display which lit up the Penang skyline.
The APMG 2018 was an inaugural multi-sport Masters Games held in Asia.
A total of 5,564 participants from 64 countries took part in 22 sports from Sept 6 to 15 at various venues in Penang.
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