Saturday, 29 March 2014 | MYT 10:05 PM
Yao Han strengthens grip on Thomas Cup squad
Ow Yao Han (right) has performed well with Tan Boon Heong. - filepix
PASIR GUDANG: If his growth as a player is anything to go by, two-time world junior champion Ow Yao Han is set to win the last slot in the men’s doubles squad for the Thomas Cup Finals.
Although the 19-year-old Yao Han and his new partner Tan Boon Heong lost in the quarter-finals of the Malaysian Open Grand Prix Gold at the Pasir Gudang Municipal Stadium on Friday, he showed good attitude throughout the competition.
After shaky starts in the early rounds, Yao Han stepped up a gear with Boon Heong and they almost caused a big upset before going down fighting 23-25, 21-6, 19-21 to third seeds Gideon Markus Fernaldi-Markis Kido of Indonesia in 52 minutes.
Not many may know this but Yao Han had been unwell from day one. Credit to him, though, for trying to outdo himself – just to prove a point.
“I learnt from every match. I was a nervous wreck in the beginning because I knew the spotlight was on Boon Heong and I. I’m glad that my partner and my coach (Pang Cheh Chang) were encouraging,” said Yao Han, who was coughing throughout the competition.
“I played much better in the quarter-finals. It is positive ... but I still have a long way to go. I have to show more improvement in two other tournaments.”
The quality of competition will be greater when Yao Han-Boon Heong head to New Delhi for the Indian Open Superseries starting on Wednesday, followed by the Singapore Open Superseries.
A good showing in those two tournaments will further justify his selection into the Thomas Cup Finals squad.
The Finals will be held in New Delhi from May 18-25 and, so far, five doubles players are assured of their places – Hoon Thien How-Tan Wee Kiong, Lim Khim Wah-Goh V Shem and Boon Heong.
The closing date for Malaysia to submit the names of the team members is May 4.
During the recent selection trial, Yao Han and Chan Peng Soon played as a pair and won all their matches but, with only one slot up for grabs, Yao Han seems to be the favourite.