Malaysia is proud of your bronze medal efforts Daren despite injury

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A gritty Daren Liew bowed out of the World Championships with a bronze medal after losing his semi-final against Japan’s third seed Kento Momota 21-16, 21-5 in the men’s singles in Nanjing, China on Saturday.

The 30-year-old Daren, who turns 31 on Monday, was grimacing in pain in the second game after tough first game where he fought point for point against the Japanese before bowing out.

It was evident that Daren was in pain in the second game but he plodded on despite his movements being restricted by his injured right ankle. He sustained the injury when he slipped and fell while attempting to pick up the shuttle midway in the second game in the quarter-final match against Japan’s Kanta Tsuneyama on Friday.

In the semi-final match against Momota, 23, Daren was not ready to give up even when the Japanese ace was firing the shuttle on the left and right side of the Malaysian who had a huge fan support in the stands.

The unseeded Daren, however, can count his bronze medal effort as the best early birthday present as a professional player who kept the country’s flag flying in the men’s singles after the withdrawal of Datuk Lee Chong Wei due to health problems.

Daren was not expected to go far in Nanjing but he gave his all with his tremendous fighting spirit and gutsy performance, especially against his younger opponents.

Among the scalps included India’s No 5 seed and former world number one K. Srikanth and Indonesia’s Jonatan Christie.

“The quarter-final match took a toll on me. I was not that fit today (against Momota) and recovery from the grueling match against Tsuneyama) took time longer. Moreover, my ankle was another factor that made thing difficult for me,” said Daren in a television interview after the match.

For the 37 minutes, Daren was on the court against Momota he stood tall – never giving up with the fans cheering him on.

Daren’s bronze is Malaysia’s third in the men’s singles after Wong Choong Han and Chong Wei. Chong last won the bronze in Jakarta in 2015.

Meanwhile, Momota wrote Japanese badminton history by reaching final. The former World No 2 is the first Japanese male to play in the singles final in the world championships. RIZAL ABDULLAH 


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