FATHER-TO-BE Lee Chong Wei nailed a historic ninth Malaysian Open title in ruthless fashion at the Putra Stadium in Bukit Jalil yesterday.
And after blowing away Sony Dwi Kuncoro of Indonesia with a 21-7, 21-8 win in just 32 minutes in the men’s singles final, the 30-year-old Chong Wei said he would not slow down in his chase for more honours.
“I will strike a balance. I will be a father this year and both my family and badminton are important to me,” said Chong Wei, who confirmed that his wife Wong Mew Choo is expecting a child.
“Having been an athlete before, Mew Choo is really understanding. I will have to juggle my time to stay focused on my game and also be a responsible family man. Family is important to me,” he added.
On going one title better than the late Wong Peng Soon, Chong Wei said he was thrilled to bits.
“It is not easy for a player to win nine home titles. I must thank all my fans for their support. The crowd at the Putra Stadium today was the biggest so far. I appreciate that,” said Chong Wei.
Yesterday, he entertained his fans by going for a ferocious attack against Sony. He hardly gave the Indonesian the time and space to counter his moves and constantly slammed down smashes at every opportunity to further frustrate the former World Championships runner-up.
“I went on an attack mode against Sony today and it paid off. I analysed his game against Kenichi Tago (on Saturday) and read his game well. It is a good win,” said Chong Wei.
The 28-year-old Sony was philosophical in defeat.
“This match against Chong Wei showed where I stand. I am still two to three steps behind him. He is certainly one class above me,” said the Indonesian.
After winning the back-to-back Korean Open and Malaysian Open, Chong Wei said he was still hungry for more success.
In fact, the 10-time national champion is game to go for the 10th Malaysian Open title.
“I know that age is catching up. I will be 31 (in October). But I am still motivated to do well in international tournaments. Next Malaysian Open? Yes, why not,” he said, flashing a wide grin.
“I am also considering playing in the local tournaments this year again. Local tournaments are also important.”
Chong Wei’s immediate target, however, is the All-England in Birmingham from March 5-10. The other major outings are the Sudirman Cup in May and the World Championships in Guangzhou in August.
“China’s Lin Dan will probably make a return at the All-England. It will be more challenging, but I will be ready for it,” said Chong Wei, who picked up US$30,000 to add to the US$75,000 he won in Seoul.
HOW CHONG WEI WON
: bt Viktor Axelsen (Den) 21-8, 21-10
: bt Boonsak Ponsana Tha) w.o.
: bt Hu Yun (Hkg)21-12, 21-9
: bt Jan O Jorgensen (Den) 21-13, 17-21, 21-12
: bt Sony Dwi Kuncoro (Ina) 21-7, 21-8