Badminton Life

Malaysia's Wong Wants Cool Head to Tackle Young Olympic Rivals

Malaysian veteran Wong Choong Hann is hoping a cool and mature presence can help to overcome some of the young hot heads he is likely to face at the Beijing Olympics men's singles competition.

Wong could be making his final appearance in the Olympics at 31 years of age and one part of the older brigade, along with players such as Denmark' Peter Gade Christensen and Kenneth Jonassen.

Ranked 15th in the work, Wong is not expected to be a challenger for the medals, especially with younger players such as compatriot Lee Chong Wei and China's Lin Dan expected to be among the favourites.

However, he hopes by using smart play, he can counteract the fast and furious tactics of his younger opponents.

"Experience comes with age. The only way to handle the fast and furious young players, including Chong Wei is to play intelligently," he was quoted as saying in the domestic media.

"I have to slow down my young opponents to offset their rhythm and capitalise on my expertise. Variations will be a key factor when I play them."

He is hoping a medal in Beijing will provide the perfect present for his wife, who is expected to give birth in September.

"My wife is expected to deliver our child in September ... and winning a medal will be the best gift," he said. "So, it's going to be for baby and me. Of course, my main challenge is to win a gold medal.

"I guess this will be my last Olympics as age is not on my side."

As to his future, Wong said it depends on how he performs in the Olympics.

"I have two options. I will reveal them after the Games. But if I strike gold, then I'll continue playing and shelve my future plans till there comes a time where I have to look at the exit gate."

"This is one last chance for me to make good and I'm saving the best for the last as far as the Olympic Games are concerned."

At the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, he was beaten in the quarter-finals by China's Xie Xianje. Four years ago in Athens, Wong went down in the last 16 to eventual gold medalist, Indonesia's Taufik Hidayat.

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