SBA hopes Wong will earn reprieve for Asiad

The sweet smell of success as the Singapore badminton team feast on durians at the Commonwealth Games celebrations yesterday.

The Singapore Badminton Association (SBA) are banking on Derek Wong's silver medal at the Commonwealth Games to earn the shuttler a last-minute ticket to next month's Asian Games.

While his Glasgow result still does not meet the Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC)'s requirement of a top-six finish in Asia, and even though it is past the Aug 1 deadline for appeals, SBA officials are hoping that Wong's history-making effort is good enough for some leeway.

Said senior technical manager Chua Yong Joo on the sidelines of a celebration event held for the shuttlers yesterday: "Even though the players that Derek beat at the Commonwealth Games aren't ranked very high, they are also very good players.

"Given the way that Derek fought back and beat them, I think he deserves a chance to compete at the Asian Games."

The 25-year-old, ranked 40th in the world, came from behind to beat world No. 34 R.M.V Gurusaidutt in the semi-finals and was within two points of taking gold before losing to No. 22 Parupalli Kashyap.

But given Asia's prowess in the sport, posting a finish good enough to earn a ticket to the Asiad in Incheon would mean having to take out someone ranked as high as No. 7 in the world.

Wong said: "It's understandable that the SNOC has to be strict with their guidelines. Whether they approve or not, I'm okay with it. There are still many tournaments like the World Championships at the end of the month.

"If I can get to the Asian Games, it'll be a bonus for me."

Team-mate Yao Lei, however, is in doubt for the Sept 19-Oct 4 event after old injuries flared up after Glasgow. She was absent from the celebrations yesterday.

Said national head coach Liu Qingdong: "She's been playing with injuries to her elbow and ankle all along. We'll need to see how things pan out in the next few weeks before we can be sure if she will compete."

Still, it was undeniable that spirits were high yesterday at the Singapore Badminton Hall.

Said SBA president Lee Yi Shyan: "Sports success is not a straight line... What's important is to gather yourself to go for the next goal."

This article was first published on August 06, 2014.
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