Kevin Cordon was glad to touch down in the country for the first time and make his Malaysia Open debut, even though it ended in defeat.

After taking two days just to arrive in Kuala Lumpur, Guatemala’s elite men’s singles ace lost 17-21, 7-21 to Chinese Taipei’s Wang Tzu Wei in the opening round.

But considering the effort the storied shuttler had to make to get to this part of the world, the defeat was perhaps understandable.

A post shared by Kevin Cordón (

“It’s not easy to come here to play. I had to get used to the jet lag because of the 14-hour time difference. All in all my travel time to get here from Central America totaled to almost two days.

“It’s a pity that I lost, but there is still the Malaysia Masters next week, and after that there will be the Singapore Open," he said.

Cordon was one of the remarkable stories of the Tokyo Olympics after reaching within one win away from securing Guatemala’s second ever Olympic medal.

He defeated Mark Caljouw and Heo Kwang-hee to reach the semis, but saw his fairytale run come to an end at the hands of eventual champion Viktor Axelsen.

Cordon also lost the bronze medal match vs Anthony Ginting, but captured the hearts of the watching world, and more importantly changed the perception of his country about badminton.

“In my country and South America as a whole, badminton isn’t popular. But thanks to my Olympic result, more funding is flowing in from the government and sponsors. I can now look forward to training abroad and playing in more events like in Malaysia,” he explained.

Named after former England and Liverpool forward Kevin Keegan, Cordon decided to pursue a badminton career that started in 1998 and saw him play at four Olympic editions since 2008.

This first-round loss aside, Cordon had a decent year so far, recently winning his fourth Pan Am Championships by defeating Canada’s rising star Brian Yang.

Still going strong at the age of 35, the veteran said he did not plan to hang up his badminton racquet yet.

“I’m going to continue playing, with the aim of qualifying for my fifth Olympics in Paris 2024. Besides that, I will also be competing in my sixth World Championships in August,” he said.