This appeared in today’s Breaking News section of The Straits Times’ website:
Singapore shuttler Derek Wong upsets former world champ
(The Straits Times Online, 11 Aug 2011)
SINGAPORE shuttler Derek Wong created one of the biggest shocks at the World Badminton Championships on Wednesday, when he defeated former Olympic and world champion Taufik Hidayat in the second round.
The unheralded Wong, 22, beat the Indonesian star 21-17, 21-14 to earn a place in the third round on Thursday against Hans-Kristian Vittinghaus of Denmark.
The upset was an unwelcome 30th birthday present for the fourth-seeded Taufik, who fell to an opponent ranked only 49th in the world.
When asked about the defeat, he kept repeating: ‘I don’t know why, I don’t know why.’
I just want to extend my heartiest congratulations to Derek Wong for his milestone win. Considering that Taufik is still in the top 10 of the world rankings (No. 4 for now) and a losing finalist in last year’s World Championships, this is a terribly impressive and massive scalp.
It also brings back memories of Derek’s father’s famous scalps in the 1983 South-east Asia Games in Singapore. Wong Shoon Keat stunned Indonesia’s Icuk ‘The Iceman’ Sugiarto’ – the 1983 world champion – in the semi-finals of the men’s team competition. He also defeated another Indonesian Hastomo Arbi in the men’s singles final to win Singapre’s first-ever badminton gold at the biennial multi-sports regional Games.
Can 22-year-old Derek, who is ranked 49th in the world, go on to do the same in this tournament? I don’t think so but it would be nice to think that he would be capable of following his father’s footsteps at the SEA Games one day.
For now, I am just going to savour a momentous achievement by a local sporting talent.
Singapore badminton – bursting at the seams with foreign recruits, no thanks to the Singapore Badminton Association’s lack of faith in local talents – has been really needing a result like this, by a local-born shuttler, for a long, long time. Far too long.
Well done, Derek! (You can read another report of Derek’s scalp here)
Thank you for your wonderful birthday gift to the country. Majullah Singapura!
Yours in sport
Singapore Sports Fan
P/S: I’d taken a long break from blogging to re-evaluate some priorities in my life, and because my interest in Singapore sport was starting to wane. And actually, I am still on my break. But I just had to post this up after seeing it. Shows what Singapore sport can still stir up in me.