April 3 NST JOHOR BARU: National number one Lee Chong Wei is now ready to play his part in Malaysia’s Thomas Cup campaign after winning his second title in two weeks when he smashed his way to the singles crown on his debut in the Asian Badminton Championships yesterday. Chong Wei, who won the Commonwealth Games men’s singles gold in Melbourne last month, swept aside Thailand’s Boonsak Ponsana 21-12, 21-16 in only 25 minutes to end Malaysia’s 12-year drought in the men’s singles event. Foo Kok Keong was the last Malaysian winner back in 1994. Choong Tan Fook and Lee Wan Wah made it a grand double for Malaysia after downing teammates Hoon Thien How-Tan Boon Heong 17-21, 21-11, 21-12 to win the men’s doubles crown. Current national coaches Cheah Soon Kit and Yap Kim Hock won this title in 1995. The Bandaraya Indoor Stadium in Johor Baru will be long remembered by Chong Wei for many reasons. It not only gave him his first Asian title but he also accomplished his mission of getting used to playing under the new 21-point rally scoring system. And for his gallant effort, Chong Wei walked away with the US$10,000 prize money while Boonsak took home US$5,000. After scoring the winning point in his battle with the Thai, Chong Wei celebrated by throwing his racquet to the ground, clenched his fists and looked up at the stadium’s ceiling. He then rushed to hug his coach Li Mao and then shook hands with the fans. Although he wrapped up the title in straight games, Chong Wei said he nearly gave up during the second game. That was when Boonsak was leading 9-4 and Chong Wei’s game was affected by the strong draught. “I nearly gave up then. It is quite difficult to make up the deficit under the new scoring system. I was already thinking of the rubber game,” said Chong Wei. “But then I managed to reel off several points in a row to lead 11-9. That changed the entire scenario. It also gave me the confidence to finish off the tie in straight games. Well, the rest is history but it was not an easy game for me. “This is my first Asian Badminton Championships and to win the title on my debut is extremely sweet. I also accomplished my mission in JB – that is getting used to the 21-point scoring system.” Chong Wei will be playing in the first singles in the Thomas Cup Finals to be held in Japan from April 28-May 7. “I still have a month to prepare for the Thomas Cup and everything is on track. This is the first time I will be playing first singles but I am ready to shoulder the responsibilities. “I promise to give a 100% effort. That’s for sure. I am fully focused,” added Chong Wei, who will be playing in only his second Thomas Cup. A disappointed Boonsak said: “I made too many mistakes. Chong Wei is a very tough opponent. My game was also affected by the strong wind inside the stadium.” FINAL RESULTS MEN’S SINGLES Lee Chong Wei (Mas) bt Boonsak Ponsana (Tha) 21-12, 21-16. MEN’S DOUBLES Choong Tan Fook-Lee Wan Wah (Mas) bt Hoon Thien How-Tan Boon Heong (Mas) 17-21, 21-11, 21-12. WOMEN’S SINGLES Wang Chen (Chn) bt Kaori Mori (Jpn) 21-14, 9-21, 21-13. WOMEN’S DOUBLES Yu Yang-Du Jing (Chn) bt Chien Yu-chin-Cheng Wen-hsing (Tpe) 21-11, 21-16. MIXED DOUBLES Nova Widianto-Liliyana Natsir (Ina) bt P. Sudhet-T. Saralee (Tha) 21-6, 21-23, 21-15.