NATIONAL top singles shuttler Lee Chong Wei (pic) has accepted the blame for the failure of the Malaysian men's singles players at the Thomas Cup Finals.
And he is making no excuses. Instead, he has promised to make up for the disappointment by reaching his first ever-final at the World Championships at Madrid from Sept 18-24.
On Friday, Malaysia, in the absence of skipper Wong Choong Hann lost 2-3 to Denmakr after a five-hour semi-final at the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium.
All three points were conceded by the men singles players Chong Wei, Mohd Hafiz Hashim and Kuan Beng Hong.
The 24-year-old Chong Wei, who went down 19-21, 18-21 to Peter Gade-Christensen, said he had let the country down.
The team were down after Choong Hann's misfortune (he snapped his Achilles tendon). I was named as the assistant skipper of the team. It was my responsibility to get Malaysia off to a good start but I failed, lamented the world number two.
I should be blamed for the failure, not Hafiz or Beng Hong. For a first timer, Beng Hong could not cope under the great pressure.
Hafiz went down 22-20, 12-21, 17-21 to Kenneth Jonassen.
It was his fourth defeat in their five meetings. In the decider, the 23-year-old Beng Hong was beaten 12-21, 19-21 by Joachim Persson
Of the three, on paper, I had the better record against Peter. But the Dane has read my game so well.
Chong Wei said he was prepared for a hostile reception when he gets back home but he was bent on regaining the faith of the Malaysians.
I will be playing in the Indonesian Open (May 31-June 4) and the Malaysian Open (May 13-18). Hopefully, I will be able to defend the Malaysian Open title to give the home crowd something to cheer about after this disappointment, he said.
But my next main goal is the World Championships. I reached the semi-finals in US last year. This time, I aim to go one step better. I will continue to improve my game under the 21x3 format.
On the other main contenders for the world meet, Chong Wei picked Gade-Christensen, Indonesia's Taufik Hidayat, South Korea's Lee Hyun-il and China's Lin Dan, Bao Chunlai and Chen Jin.
But of the lot, Peter seems to be the better player under the 21x3 format. In a jest, he added: This format will probably keep the Dane going for another five years.
On the future of the Malaysian men's singles department, Chong Wei said: Hafiz, Beng Hong and I will be here for some time. It will be great if Choong Hann can return quickly. But we need some new faces.
Like Indonesia, we do have good juniors coming up the ranks. Currently, I see promise in Liew Daren (from the Project 2010-12 squad). But these players need to be sent out for overseas tournaments regularly.
Players lose interest when they are kept too long in training. They lose the motivation.
Chong Wei and his teammates will return home tomorrow. All have been given a one-week break.
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