KUALA LUMPUR: World number one Datuk Lee Chong Wei equalled a badminton legend’s record of eight Malaysia Open titles Sunday, trouncing his opponent in the final and declaring he had his sights set on Olympic gold.
The Malaysian emulated compatriot Wong Peng Soon’s record of winning eight men’s singles titles with a comprehensive 21-6, 21-13 victory over Japan’s Kenichi Tago.
“It feels great to have equalled a legend’s record and now I have set my sights on winning the country’s first Olympic gold medal,” said Chong Wei, who was a runner-up at the Beijing Olympics four years ago.
Chong Wei’s previous Malaysia Open titles came in 2004, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010 and last year while Wong’s eight wins were in 1940, 1941, 1947, 1949, 1950, 1951, 1952 and 1953.
“I will now cut down my commitments and focus on the Olympics. For sure I will play in the Thomas Cup and the All England as they are the very important tournaments to me and the country,” he added.
“The win is a good Chinese New Year present for me and I will now enjoy a short break with my family before resuming training.”
Asked if he will now seek to break Wong’s record, Chong Wei said “it would be nice to get nine titles but for now, the focus is on the Olympics.”
The Malaysian was streets ahead of Tago, who struggled with Chong Wei’s pace and shot selection.
The Japanese shuttler also appeared intimidated by the capacity crowd who rocked the Putra Stadium for hours before the match.
Meanwhile, Denmark’s Christinna Pedersen-Kamilla Rytter-Juhl captured their first Superseries title together when they defeated South Korea’s Ha Jung-Eun/Kim Min-Jung 21-19, 21-18 in a keenly contested match-up. The Danes, who are accomplished mixed doubles players, will move up the world rankings after this win and give a boost to their hopes of qualifying for the Olympics.
In the men’s doubles, Taipei’s Fang Chieh-Min/Lee Sheng-Mu defeated South Korea’s Cho Gun-Woo/Shin Baek-Choel (KOR) 16-21, 21-16, 21-16 to win the third Superseries title of their careers but their first in almost two years.
World champions Wang Yihan and Zhang Nan-Zhao Yunlei won the women’s singles and doubles titles.
Wang, who lost in the final last year, defeated teammate Wang Xin in straight sets, 21-19, 21-11.
“It is good to finally win my first title in Malaysia,” she said. — AFP