Derek Wong quits badminton career for Deloitte job
The 27-year-old will join consulting firm Deloitte
Singapore's top male shuttler Derek Wong will call time on his professional badminton playing career at the end of the month.
The 27-year-old confirmed with The New Paper that he submitted his resignation letter to the Singapore Badminton Association (SBA) after the Olympics last month and is looking forward to joining consulting firm Deloitte on Sept 26.
The SBA had proposed that Wong make next year's SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur his swansong, but he made the difficult decision to turn it down.
The flag-bearer for Singapore at the Rio Olympics said: "Printing and signing the resignation letter was tough, after playing badminton for 20 years and doing it professionally for the last eight years.
"But it had to be done. Time is catching up with me and there are many young shuttlers coming up in the region.
"There are no major tournaments from now until the SEA Games next August and my medal prospects look slim.
"I tried to change and adapt, but with age and injuries, I can't change fast enough to adapt to the new trend.
"It is not just that, though. I am about to start work with Deloitte, who have supported me a lot and helped to plan my post-badminton career.
"I'm also going to study part-time for my chartered accountant qualification, while also coaching badminton on weekends as I don't want to completely detach myself from the sport.
"With such a full plate, it will be tough to train for the SEA Games as well." Wong, one of a handful of local-born shuttlers to play the sport professionally, can look back at a fulfilling career in which he achieved his best world ranking of 37th in 2014, a year which he admitted was bittersweet.
"It is both a highlight and a regret," he said, referring to the 2014 Commonwealth Games badminton men's singles final where he narrowly lost 21-14, 11-21, 19-21 to India's Parupalli Kashyap.
Wong was the first Singaporean to qualify for a Commonwealth Games badminton men's singles final.
His other career highlights include beating former world No. 1 Taufik Hidayat at the 2011 World Championships, as well as a men's singles bronze from the 2011 SEA Games, and a mixed team bronze from the 2007 World Junior Championships.
He had also played at the last two Olympics, winning one and losing one match on both occasions as higher-ranked opponents progressed from the group stage at his expense.
He mused: "I would like to be remembered as a passionate shuttler who has given everything for the sport, even when the odds were stacked against me.
"I really hope that the younger generation will step up after I have retired.
"For the men's singles, we have talented youngsters such as Loh Kean Yew, Ryan Ng and Chuang Jin Lei, and I hope they will feel the sense of urgency to take up the mantle."
Wong's impending retirement does not mean he is about to turn his back on the sport and active lifestyle.
He quipped: "I don't want to just sit in an office and grow fat. I'm actually going for a 10km run at Hong Kong Disneyland on Sept 11 and I'll still play badminton in smaller corporate and community games."
Wong is also looking to groom the next generation of shuttlers by opening his own badminton academy next year.
He said: "I'm aiming to host a 'Badminton with Derek Wong' event at the end of the year as a prelude to the academy I want to set up early next year.
"I'm really thankful to SBA for their support throughout my badminton journey, as well as the Serangoon Neighbourhood Police Centre, where I had very kind and understanding colleagues during National Service to be able to get time off for trainings and competitions.
"The support of my wife, parents, brothers, my family, friends and the media was also very important to me.
"Sponsors such as Deloitte, Li-Ning, OUE, Red Bull, Samsung, and Arina International Holding's Richard Tan also provided the national team and I with a lot of encouragement and motivation.
"These are more-than-enough reasons for me to give back to the sport and pass on what we have learnt to the next generation."