Monday, 16 April 2018 | MYT 12:00 AM
Chong Wei gets standing ovation for helping country meet gold target
VETERAN Lee Chong Wei fell on his back in joy after scoring the winning point against India’s K. Srikanth.
And when the 35-year-old stood up, there was a standing ovation as Malaysian fans celebrated Chong Wei’s sensational 19-21, 21-14, 21-14 win over the world No. 1 in an epic men’s singles final at the Carrara Sports and Leisure Centre.
A delighted Chong Wei punched the air in triumph and put his hand on his heart, and exclaimed: “This is for Malaysia!”
He also rendered a hand salute during the medal ceremony.
“I’m happy to win a gold in my last Commonwealth Games and help Malaysia meet the gold-medal target,” he said.
“There was pressure as I knew how important this was for the badminton team and for the nation. I’m glad I hung in there to deliver.”
Thanks to Chong Wei, the Malaysian contingent met their six-gold target on the last day.
Chow Mei Kuan-Vivian Hoo then made it seven golds for Malaysia when they defeated England’s Lauren Smith-Sarah Walker 21-12, 21-12 in the women’s doubles final.
Badminton ended the Games with two gold medals..
But the day belonged to Chong Wei.
“I was disappointed with my first defeat to Srikanth during the team event.
“I did my homework and came prepared this time,” he said.
“But I was disappointed to lose narrowly in the opening game ... I made some mistakes.”
Indeed, the 25-year-old Srikanth was a notch better in his attacking game and punished the Malaysian with his big smashes in the first game.
And it looked as though the Malaysian would be sent packing in the second game.
“But I followed his fast pace in the second game.
“I extended the lead and I saw him wavering.
“I switched on to attack mode and kept attacking him.
“I became more confident from then on,” said Chong Wei, who banked on his vast experience to break Srikanth’s resolve.
With the win, Chong Wei showed his career was far from over.
“I’m happy that I can play at this level at my age. I didn’t give up and fought until the end,” said Chong Wei.
“It’s not over yet and I’m looking forward to other tournaments with more confidence.
“Today’s victory will be cherished.
“It’s one of the most memorable wins in my career and in my last Commonwealth Games.”
It was Chong Wei’s fifth gold medal – and third in the singles – in three Commonwealth Games. He won a double – singles and team golds – at the 2006 Melbourne and 2010 New Delhi Games.