Pemain badminton utama negara, Datuk Lee Chong Wei, menghadiahkan pingat emas yang keenam buat Malaysia menerusi acara perseorangan lelaki Sukan Komanwel Gold Coast 2018 selepas menewaskan pemain nombor satu dunia dari India, Srikanth Kidambi, 19-21, 21-14, 21-14 dalam aksi final di Carrara Sports Arena, sebentar tadi.
Selepas tewas di tangan lawan sama sewaktu beraksi dalam saingan berpasukan campuran, Chong Wei turun dengan misi untuk membalas dendam selain mahu menyamai rekod Koo Kien Keat meraih emas kelima di pentas Komanwel.
Bagaimanapun, aksi sengit dalam set pertama membuktikan kekuatan fizikal yang dimiliki Srikanth menjadi pemisah apabila menundukkan pemain nombor satu negara itu 21-19.
Tersentak dengan kekalahan itu, Chong Wei memperkemaskan permainan untuk mendahului 5-0 di awal set kedua, sebelum Srikanth bangkit untuk menjadikan kedudukan 7-5.
Aksi yang konsisten sambil mengurangkan kesilapan mudah membolehkan Chong Wei terus meraih mata demi mata untuk mengheret pemain nombor satu dunia itu ke set penentuan selepas menang 21-14 dalam tempoh 21 minit.
Bersambung ke set ketiga, Chong Wei bermula dengan langkah kanan, apabila berada di depan 7-1 sebelum menjarakkan pendahuluan kepada 16-8.
Pemain berusia 35 tahun itu mengesahkan kutipan emas keenam buat Malaysia apabila menamatkan set penentuan 21-14, sekali gus melengkapkan emas kelima peribadi dalam saingan Komanwel.
"Saya tidak begitu memikirkannya kerana ini adalah penampilan terakhir di Komanwel, jadi saya mempertaruhkan segalanya. Lawan adalah pemain nombor satu dunia, sukar dikalahkan dan saya tewas di tangannya dalam acara berpasukan.
"Untuk bangkit, saya memerlukan mental yang sangat kuat, terutama selepas tewas dalam set pertama. Saya tidak berputus asa dan terus cuba.
"Saya cuba mengikut rentaknya kerana dia masih muda dan bermain dengan pantas, jadi saya terus mendapatkan mata demi mata," kata Chong Wei.
Sun Apr 15 2018
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