Wan-ho, Chen Long and Chong Wei - the 'spark' at Perodua Malaysia Masters
****Image Credit: Edwin Leung
Son Wan-ho won his first title on Malaysian soil on Sunday (Jan 20) but it is also the day he will remember for the rest of his life for the achievement in his badminton.
It was a day the 30-year-old South Korean veteran defeated China's Chen Long 21-17, 21-19 in the men's singles final at the Axiata Arena in Bukit Jalil, Kuala Lumpur.
The Korean was USD26,250 richer while Chen Long took home USD13,300.
It was also the day when one of the best known badminton ambassador, Malaysia's Datuk Wira Lee Chong Wei showed up at the stadium and gave away a bouquet of flowers each to the champion and the runners-up.
Wan-ho and Chen Long were thrilled to bits to see Chong Wei in person and receive the flowers from the former World No 1 who has stayed away from the badminton courts around the world since his last tournament - and this was in July 2018 when he lost in the semi-finals to Japan's Kento Momota in the Indonesia Open.
Chong Wei was later diagnosed with nose cancer and is still on medical treatment although he has resumed training.
He has set his sights on playing in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
However, Chong Wei has yet to get medical clearance to play competitive badminton but is expected the green light from his doctors soon.
He was earlier expected to play in next month's All-England but the 100PLUS Ambassador has now set his sights on the Malaysia Open in April.
After giving away the flowers to Wan-ho and Chen Long the Malaysian ace later posed for photos with the duo on the podium much to the delight of the players and those who had turned up at the stadium on the last day of the USD350,000 tournament.
The trio exchanged pleasantries and Chen Long expressed his desire to Chong Wei "back on court" to light up the international badminton scene.
In the semi-finals on Saturday it was a free passage into the final for Wan-ho after Malaysia's Liew Daren conceded a walkover because of a foot injury while Chen Long ended the reign of Denmark's Viktor Axelsen with a 21-13, 21-18 win.