Sports

Easy-winner Chong now eyes Olympics

Malaysia's Chong Wei Feng may have won the SEA Games men's singles title, but he is not done.

He has set his sights on qualifying for next year's Rio Olympics.

Chong cruised to an easy 21-8, 21-9 win over compatriot Mohamad Arif Abdul Latif at the Singapore Indoor Stadium yesterday.

"It was an easy medal for me cause he made many mistakes today," said Chong (right).

"I had to focus on my game because (Arif) has been playing very well throughout this tournament also."

Mohamad Arif admitted that he did not play his best. "Wei Feng played better because he could control the draft in the stadium and I couldn't get my timing right."

Chong's gold medal for Malaysia was a statement of intent since he was cut from the 2015 World Championships, in favour of former world No. 1 Lee Chong Wei.

"It means a lot for me, it shows that my game is still there, I'm still improving and getting back my form after 
my injury earlier this year," said 
Chong.

To qualify for next year's Oympics, the 27-year-old world No. 36 will have to climb back up the ranks.

He will be flying to Canada on Saturday to join Lee in the Yonex Canada Open.

But both Chong and his coach Morten Frost have admitted that qualifying for the Olympics will be a long shot.

Said Chong: "It's going to be tough, all the players are competing in upcoming tournaments."

Frost agreed: "We have a small chance of two in top 16, both Chong Wei and Wei Feng have to be ranked top 16 in the world, it's a tough one.

"Nothing is easy, it's a very borderline case, but we have to give it our best and cross our fingers."

Frost, a former world champion, added that Chong has a fighting chance despite being cut from the world championships.

"Of course he should stay. Never give up. When he makes a decision to stop, make a good decision and not a decision made with anger.

"It's absolutely possible. If it's in his heart, let's give it a good go," he added.

- THRINA THAM

SEA GamesbadmintonChong Weng Fei