PETALING JAYA: National junior shuttler Cheam June Wei blew a chance to make the main draw on his first Grand Prix Gold appearance at the Taiwan Open.
In the men’s singles qualifying round on Tuesday, the 17-year-old Penangite cleared the first hurdle by ousting Heo Kwang-hee of South Korea, last year’s world junior champion, 21-13, 22-20 in the first round. He, however, fell short in the next round.
June Wei, a quarter-finalist at last April’s World Junior Championships and ranked world No. 373, went down 21-11, 12-21, 23-21 to Thailand’s Mek Narongrit, the world No. 579, in a 52-minute battle.
June Wei’s defeat summed up a disappointing day for the Malaysian camp as only national back-up pair Tai An Khang-Woon Mun Choon made the main draw.
An Khang-Mun Choon came back from a second-game whitewash to down Taiwan’s Chiang Yu-wei-Lee-yang 21-15, 2-21, 21-14 in the men’s doubles second round.
The tournament proper starts on Wednesday with independent shuttlers Tan Chun Seang and Mohd Arif Abdul Latif leading Malaysia’s charge in the men’s singles. Three world’s top-10 players – South Korea’s Son Wan-ho, Wang Zhengming of China and Hu Yun of Hong Kong – and two-time Olympic champion Lin Dan of China are also competing in the US$200,000 (RM636,000) tournament.