Stars Spotlight

Jorgensen's heart of a champion

Jan O Jorgensen (below), is not the type of person to give up easily.

Jan O Jorgensen (NR Mas 1st celebrate)Even a heart scare late last year has not derailed his ambitions of making it to the Olympics later this year and on Wednesday evening at the Putra Stadium in Kuala Lumpur, he showed the heart of a champion when he overcame eight match points to beat Du Pengyu in the Maybank Malaysia Open presented by Proton.

The Dane, who reached the quarter-finals at last week’s Victor Korea Open before losing to Lin Dan, stayed cool under pressure to record a sensational 12-21, 21-11, 26-24, victory in 66 minutes.

“I was not worried even though I had to save eight match points. It was certainly an exciting experience and the crowd played their part,” said Jorgensen, who received the full backing of the Malaysian supporters.

“It’s a fantastic feeling. To survive eight match points before winning is marvellous. The crowd was fantastic and I’ve always said I enjoying coming to Malaysia as this is one of the best badminton stadiums in the world.

“The crowd were against me in 2010 when I beat Wong Choong Hann in a Thomas Cup match, but today they were firmly behind me and I dedicate this win to them.”

Jorgensen failed to defend his Denmark Open crown last October when he withdrew from the quarter-final stage after he suffered from an inflammation of the heart valves.

He underwent several medical check-ups and while he still suffers from irregular heartbeats, he has been cleared to play.

“The medical team didn’t find anything seriously wrong with me. I admit I was quite afraid at that time as I could actually hear and feel my heart beating twice as fast as normal,” said Jorgensen, who will face China’s Lin Dan who beat Viktor Axelsen in the second round on Thursday.

“The doctors said my heart is bigger than it should be due to all the training I’ve been doing and therefore, there is nothing serious. I can continue my career as normal and now I’m concentrating on qualifying for the Olympics.”

He did his chances of doing so a world of good when he tamed Du Pengyu in an exciting encounter. The Chinese shuttler gave his all but could not break down the Dane.

Du Pengyu (NR Mas 1st)A visibly disappointed Du Pengyu (right), said:  “I had my chances, but I just lost it in the end because he played some fantastic shots towards the end of the match.”

Chance after chance when begging in the decider as Jorgensen clawed his way back from 20-16 down before finally clinching victory. He even had the time to stare down his opponent at match point, raising a finger to indicate he would only need that one match point.

Jan O Jorgensen (NR Mas 1st)“It was my first match point and I indicated to him that one would be enough for me. I think he cracked under pressure!” joked Jorgensen (left), who closed out 2011 by winning his second Copenhagen Masters.

“I’m still not certain of qualifying for the Olympics as I’ve only just made it to the top 16. Doing well in Malaysia will certain boost my confidence and playing without fear like I did today will also give me hope for the future.”

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