Today December 14, 2007 David Ngiau Deputy Sports Editor in Korat 24 years after Wong Shoon Keat's triumph, his one-time pupil is following in his footsteps The last time a Singapore badminton player featured in the SEA Games men's singles final was in 1983, when Wong Shoon Keat won gold in front of home fans by downing Indonesia's world champion Icuk Sugiarto. Twenty-four years later, Wong's former student Kendrick Lee is on course to pull off an even greater feat. Lee, who was born the year after Wong's gold medal success, turned in another giant-killing act at the SEA Games here yesterday when he beat home favourite and world No 12 Boonsak Ponsana 21-18, 22-20 in their men's singles semi-final clash at the Vongchavalitkul University Indoor Stadium. Lee, 23, had earlier dumped Indonesian second seed Sony Dwi Kuncoro, the world No 6, in the round of 16. Boonsak had beaten Lee in their previous two meetings - a Thomas Cup qualifier in 2002 and the Thai Open in 2005 - but it was third time lucky for the Singaporean as he prevailed in straight games. Lee's opponent in the final today (4.20 pm, Singapore time) will be Indonesia's reigning Olympic champion Taufik Hidayat, who needed a rubber game to beat Vietnam's Nguyen Tien Minh (21-15, 14-21, 21-14) in their semi-final clash. Back in Singapore, Wong was over the moon. "I'm so happy for Kendrick," he said yesterday, minutes after his former pupil's triumph. "This is a dream come through." Wong's win over Icuk, who admittedly was running a high fever on the day of the final, sealed his place in history, as he became the first Singapore man to win singles gold at the SEA Games. Eight years later, Lee's father asked Wong to coach his seven-year-old son. "I've always thought Kendrick had the talent and the self-belief to excel in badminton," said Wong, 50, who is a committee member of the Singapore Badminton Association (SBA). "I had him for only two to three years before he was spotted and drafted into the SBA programme." After his stunning triumph, Lee paid tribute to his first coach. "I didn't know how to play badminton at all when he started coaching me ... he basically taught me everything I know. All my basic skills, I owe to him," he said. "Can I repeat his feat? I hope so." Taufik has already beaten Lee here. On Monday, the world No 7 just pipped him 12-21, 22-20, 21-9 in the opening singles of the men's team final, which Indonesia went on to win 3-0. But Wong is tipping Lee to match his own feat. "I believe he has a good chance of turning the tables on Taufik," said Wong. "I watched him in the team event and really, it was anybody's game. And Kendrick has nothing to lose." After Lee's victory, there was more to celebrate as Singapore's world No 23 men's doubles pair of Hendri Saputra and Hendra Wijaya caused another upset, beating Indonesia's Hendra Gunawan and Joko Riyadi 21-19, 21-19 to advance to the final. They will face the other Indonesian pair of Markis Kido and Hendra Setiawan in today's final.