“This is just the beginning... watch out for me.”
These were the words of 19-year-old Lim Chong King, who announced his arrival on the international stage in style when he claimed the Hellas Open men singles crown in Greece yesterday.
The shuttler, who is tipped to be Malaysia’s next big badminton star, saw off compatriot, Aidil Sholeh Ali Sadikin 8-21, 21-13, 21-15 in the final in Sidirokastro.
Commenting on his first big break after only three tournaments this season, Chong King said the Hellas Open tested the national players, especially when it came to food.
It is learnt that they only ate rice on Saturday after having settled for burgers and pasta since arriving in Greece.
“We only found a shop that sold rice on Saturday. Apart from having to adapt to the food here, the tournament was extremely tiring.
“We had to play two matches every day,” said Chong King, who has been compared to a young Lee Chong Wei by national men’s singles coach Misbun Sidek.
Chong King, who impressed by reaching the semi-finals of the Malaysia International Series in June, added that it feels good to finally win a trophy after working so hard in training.
“I don’t want to think too much about who people compare me to, but I am very happy to finally win something. I have been working really hard for this.
“I also believe that Aidil was tired because this tournament demanded a lot from us,” he said.
There was more joy for the Malaysian camp as S. Kisona bagged the women’s singles title after notching a 21-14, 21-9 win over third seed Thet Htar Thuzar of Mongolia.
The 21-year-old, who is on a comeback trail after recovering from an injury, dedicated her victory to her parents who are both August babies.
“It means a lot to be crowned champion here because it’s not only Merdeka month, but my parents were also born in August.
“As Malaysians, it was really difficult to just eat burgers and pasta every day, but after winning, the struggle became worth it.
“This is for Malaysia,” said Kisona.
Both Chong King and Kisona pocketed €896 (RM4,200) while Aidil settled for €490 (RM2,300).
They will now compete in the Bulgarian Open, which starts today.