Thomas Cup: Jun Hao baffled over Malaysia’s heartbreaking exit

National singles badminton player Leong Jun Hao battling against Cholan Kayan of England at the Thomas Cup Tournament at Impact Arena in Bangkok, May 9, 2022. — Bernama pic
National singles badminton player Leong Jun Hao battling against Cholan Kayan of England at the Thomas Cup Tournament at Impact Arena in Bangkok, May 9, 2022. — Bernama pic

BANGKOK, May 13 — Clueless and shocked.

That was the reaction from Malaysia’s third singles Leong Jun Hao after he failed to keep alive Malaysia’s hope of ending a 30-year title drought in the Thomas Cup here.

Jun Hao lost to India’s Prannoy H.S. 13-21, 8-21 in a crunch match to determine a place in the semi-finals of the 2022 Thomas Cup Finals at Impact Arena.

“I just don’t know what to say. I failed to contribute to Malaysia,” a teary-eyed Jun Hao told reporters when met after the match in the mixed zone here.

India handed a painful 3-2 defeat to Malaysia and created their own history of reaching their maiden semi- finals in the world’s most prestigious badminton team tournament.

However, Jun Hao, ranked 124th in the world, vowed to come back stronger and make Malaysia proud in the future.

Malaysia’s men’s doubles shuttler Nur Izzuddin Rumsani said today’s match did not go their way while his partner Goh Sze Fei admitted they found it very difficult to score points against Satwiksairaj Rankireddy-Chirag Shetty because of their strong defence.

Satwiksairaj-Chirag inspired India’s comeback by levelling the tie 1-1 after brushing aside Sze Fei-Nur Izzuddin 21-19, 21-15 in the second match.

Meanwhile, the 29-year-old Prannoy described the third singles as a ‘do or die’ match, saying he was proud to help steer his team into the semis tomorrow.

“The pressure is always there when the score line is tied at 2-2. I feel that this edition is the window for us to go all out,” he said.

The world number 23 shuttler also believed that on his day, he can beat even the best players in the world.

“I know myself very much. I can beat anybody but I need to be more consistent because that’s what made you play better,” he added. — Bernama