Games-Badminton (Singles)

KUALA LUMPUR, 21 Sept 98 (Bernama):

BY Ahmad Shukran Shaharuddin


Wong Choon Han clinched the gold medal in the men's singles badminton competition of the Commonwealth Games by beating compatriot Yong Hock Kin at the Kuala Lumpur Badminton Stadium in Cheras here today.

Wong, Malaysia's third singles player who has had a fine run since the Thomas Cup in May, got the better of Yong with a score of 10-15, 15-12, 15-6 in the gruelling battle that lasted more than one hour and 16 minutes.

The victory was Wong's first against Yong in their three meetings. Yong had to settle for the silver medal while P. Gopi Chand of India and Darren Hall were given the bronze medals for finishing among the last four.

Wong started aggressively in the first set where he took the lead at 9-5 with his good crosscourt smashes which proved deadly. But the more experienced Yong, a steadier of the two, clawed back to level at 10-10 and went on to win the first game in a single service 15-10 in 27 minutes.

The determined Wong, seeded third in the competition, refused to be outdone and came back strongly in the second game to force Yong into making errors.

He took the lead at 8-7, raced to a 12-8 before giving four points away to tie at 12-12. Wong then broke the deadlock and went on to force the rubber with 15-12 win.

The 21-year-old Wong was in his element in the decider. His deceptive shots and net play gave him the edge and victory over the fast tiring Yong at 15-6.

"I was really exhausted as I had to match Yong stroke for stroke," said the delighted Wong after the match.

The Kuala Lumpur born lad somehow did not believe earlier that he had a chance to win against Yong who has been in great form recently.

"I was lucky I played Yong on his bad day," said Wong, the winner of the recent Malaysian GP badminton championship.

Chief coach Morten Frost Hansen said Wong had shown vast improvement to be able to win.


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