SINGAPORE - Malaysia's Chong Wei Feng grabbed the biggest title of his career at the SEA Games badminton on Tuesday in the perfect riposte after he was controversially axed for the world championships.
Chong, who was in line for the worlds until the return of ex-number one Lee Chong Wei from a drugs ban, breezed past his compatriot Mohammad Arif Abdul Latif in the men's singles final.
Chong said the 21-8, 21-9 victory over Latif, 25, in his first major individual final was redemptive after a rollercoaster year which has included injury struggles.
"It means a lot to me and it shows that my game is still there. I am getting back my form after my injury early this year," said the 28-year-old.
Chong is Malaysia's top-ranked men's singles player at 36, a position which should have guaranteed him a spot at the August world championships in Jakarta.
But when Lee returned to action after being handed a backdated, eight-month ban for accidentally taking a banned inflammatory, he replaced Chong in Malaysia's line-up despite a ranking which has slumped to 79.
Chong said Tuesday's win was also "sweet revenge" after he lost to Latif on home ground earlier this year.
Earlier, Thailand's Busanan Ongbumrungpan made up her loss in the 2013 women's singles final by beating Indonesia's Hanna Ramadini 21-17, 21-12 in 37 minutes.
The match looked headed for a third game Ramadini when raced to a 10-3 lead in the second. But Ongbumrungpan racked up 11 consecutive points before closing it out.
"I am very happy right now because last time I got runner-up, this time I tried to get the gold medal and this is (now) my turn," said Ongbumrungpan.
"Next for me, I want to go to the (2016) Olympic Games in Rio," added the world number 19.
In the women's doubles, Malaysia's 26th-ranked Amelia Alicia Anscelly and Soong Fie Cho upset their world number 11 team-mates Vivian Hoo Kah Mun and Khe Wei Woon 21-18, 21-13.
Defending Singapore Open men's doubles champions Angga Pratama and Ricky Karanda Suwardi beat their fellow Indonesians Marcus Fernaldi Gideon and Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo 21-12, 24-22.
And Praveen Jordan and Debby Susanto put Indonesia on top of the badminton medals table with three golds when they beat Malaysia's Chan Peng Soon and Goh Liu Ying 18-21, 21-13, 25-23 in the mixed doubles.