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Monday December 10, 2012

Thien How-Wee Kiong eye top four finish in Shenzhen

Staying positive: Hoon Thien How (right) and Tan Wee Kiong plan to ruffle some feathers and make
the top four at the BWF World Super Series Finals in Shenzhen. Staying positive: Hoon Thien How (right) and Tan Wee Kiong plan to ruffle some feathers and make the top four at the BWF World Super Series Finals in Shenzhen.

KUALA LUMPUR: Shuttlers Hoon Thien How-Tan Wee Kiong are the lowest ranked men’s doubles pair at the BWF World Super Series Finals, which begins in Shenzhen tomorrow.

But the duo plan to ruffle some feathers and make the top four, at least, in the US$500,000 tournament.

Thien How-Wee Kiong are one of the eight qualifiers for the Tour’s season finale. The others are compatriots Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong; Japan’s Hiroyuki Endo-Kenichi Hayakawa; China’s Hong Wei-Shen Ye and Cai Yun-Fu Haifeng; South Koreans Kim Ki-jung-Kim Sa-rang; Danes Mathias Boe-Carsten Mogensen; and Thailand’s Bodin Isara-Maneepong Jongjit.

All the qualifiers have won Open titles – either a Super Series or a Grand Prix Gold in their careers – except for Thien How-Wee Kiong. And all of them are currently ranked in the top 10 in the world expect for world No. 15 Thien How-Wee Kiong.

The 23-year-old Wee Kiong admitted that they were ranked outsiders but that, he said, won’t stop them from trying to create a few upsets.

“Thien How and I only paired up in April, so to have qualified for the Super Series Finals together with Koo and Tan is a bonus for us. We do not want to waste this chance by playing below par,” said Wee Kiong.

“We’ll be thrilled to reach the semi-finals, although it means we’ll have to beat at least two higher ranked pairs.”

The draw, to be conducted tomorrow, will see the eight pairs divided into two groups of four each. The top two pairs from each group will then meet in the crossover semi-finals.

Wee Kiong acknowledged that the last-minute entry of four-time world champions and reigning Olympic gold medallists Cai Yun-Haifeng would make the men’s doubles competition very challenging.

The Chinese pair, who won the final leg of the Tour at the Hong Kong Open last week, received a lucky break when fourth qualifiers – Hirokatsu Hashimoto-Noriyasu Hirata of Japan – withdrew.

This enabled the first reserves – Cai Yun-Haifeng – to make the cut.

“Without them, the men’s doubles race would have been more open. Cai Yun-Haifeng are the most consistent pairs and will surely be the ones to beat in this tournament,” said Wee Kiong.

Malaysia’s other qualifiers for the Finals are Lee Chong Wei, Liew Daren and Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying. Except for Thien How-Wee Kiong, all the other Malaysian shuttlers have tasted success in the Super Series Tour at least once.

The qualifiers

Men’s singles: 1. Lee Chong Wei (Mas), 2. Chen Long (Chn), 3. Kenichi Tago (Jpn), 4. Hu Yun (Hkg), 5. Daren Liew (Mas), 6. Boonsak Ponsana (Tha), 7. Du Pengyu (Chn), 8. Hans-Kristian Vittinghus (Den).

Men’s doubles: 1. Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong (Mas), 2. Hiroyuki Endo-Kenichi Hayakawa (Jpn), 3. Hong Wei-Shen Ye (Chn), 4. Kim Ki-jung-Kim Sa-rang (Kor), 5. Mathias Boe-Carsten Mogensen (Den), 6. Bodin Isara-Maneepong Jongjit (Tha), 7. Hoon Thien How-Tan Wee Kiong (Mas), 8. Cai Yun-Fu Haifeng (Chn).

Women’s singles: 1. Li Xuerui (Chn), 2. Juliane Schenk (Ger), 3. Wang Shixian (Chn), 4. Saina Nehwal (Ind), 5. Tine Baun (Den), 6. Sung Ji-hyun (Kor), 7. Eriko Hirose (Jpn), 8. Ratchanok Intanon (Tha).

Women’s doubles: 1. Shizuka Matsuo-Mami Naito (Jpn), 2. Eom Hye-won-Jang Ye-na (Kor), 3. Tian Qing-Zhao Yunlei (Chn), 4. Wang Xiaoli-Yu Yang (Chn), 5. Duanganong Aroonkesorn-V. Kunchala (Tha), 6. Christinna Pedersen-Kamilla Rytter Juhl (Den), 7. Misaki Matsutomo-Ayaka Takahashi (Jpn), 8. Pook Lok Yan-Tse Ying Suet.

Mixed doubles: 1. Xu Chen-Ma Jin (Chn), 2. Chan Peng Soon- Goh Liu Ying (Mas), 3. Tantowi Ahmad-Lilyana Natsir (Ina), 4. Zhang Nan-Zhao Yunlei (Chn), 5. Sudket Prapakamol-T. Saralee (Tha), 6. Joachim Fisher-Nielsen-Christinna Pedersen (Den), 7. Yoo Yeonseong- Jang Ye-na (Kor), 8. Mohd Rijal-Debby Susanto (Ina).

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