Monday, August 19, 2019
TEXT BY DEV SUKUMAR | BADMINTON PHOTO
Rajiv Ouseph, England’s most accomplishedone of Europe’s best men’s singles players for a decade-and-a-half, called time on his international career after his opening round loss at the TOTAL BWF World Championships 2019.
Ouseph, European champion in 2017 whose career best ranking was No.10, went down to Indonesia’s Jonatan Christie, 21-15 21-19.
The England player made a fist of it despite trailing in the second game. He whittled down a six-point deficit and came to within one point at 19-20, but could not stop Christie from converting his fourth match point.
Passing the Baton
“I’ve been thinking about it for a while, so I’ve had a chance to come to terms that this is my last tournament. It was a combination of things. I got a new family, that was a part of it. My body’s starting to let me know a little bit, in terms of training and all that. I also felt it was time for Toby (Penty), and with the Olympics next year, it’s a great opportunity for him.”
Ouseph admitted it was difficult to walk off court after playing his last international match: “While I was playing the game I was concentrating on that, but after I finished it was a bit difficult.”
Talking of his career, Ouseph said he was happy with what he had achieved: “I would’ve liked to do better, but I’ve got to be happy with my achievements. I don’t think England had a great tradition in the recent past of producing good singles players, so for me it was good to achieve what I did with the resources we had, so I can only be proud of what I did. Winning the European Championships (2017), that was big. Playing two Danish guys in the semis and final in Denmark; to win that was special.”
Chen, Momota Ease Through
The morning session had no surprises in store. Two-time champion Chen Long was held up by Russia’s Vladimir Malkov in the second game, but stepped on the gas when he had to; the third seed progressed with a 21-14 21-17 score.
Defending champion Kento Momota had even less trouble from Vietnam’s Pham Cao Cuong (21-9 21-10). Sixth seed Anthony Ginting, eighth seed Kenta Nishimoto and 14th seed Lee Zii Jia were among the first round winners. Brazil’s Ygor Coelho was expected to trouble Lee Zii Jia, but the Malaysian was solid in his 21-17 21-15 victory.
“I want to say congratulations to Rajiv Ouseph. I wish him Happy Retirement! I hope he can have a good life after his badminton career. He had a good style and it was never easy to play him.” – Jonatan Christie, after beating Rajiv Ouseph.