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Tuesday January 8, 2013

Shuttler will no longer fool around following punishment by BAM

Punished: Liew Daren was dropped from the Korean Open for his lackadaisical attitude during the
National Grand Prix Finals in Alor Setar last month. Punished: Liew Daren was dropped from the Korean Open for his lackadaisical attitude during the National Grand Prix Finals in Alor Setar last month.

KUALA LUMPUR: Being a champion is great – more so if you show the right attitude on court.

That’s the lesson men’s singles shuttler Liew Daren will take to heart this year after being banned from competing in the Korean Open, which starts in Seoul tomorrow, following his lackadaisical attitude at the National Grand Prix Finals in Alor Setar last month.

The reigning French Open champion was banned by the coaching and training committee (CNT) for the apathetic approach that led to his defeat by eventual champion Misbun Ramdan Misbun in the group stage.

World No. 16 Daren, currently the national No. 2 behind Lee Chong Wei, said that the ban would spur him to get his act right – starting with the Malaysian Open at the Putra Stadium from Jan 16-20.

“I was very tired towards the end of last year – especially after winning the French Open. It must shown in my game during the National GP Finals ... but I did give my best,” said Daren.

“I was disappointed with the decision as I was looking forward to the Korean Open. The incident has taught me a good lesson. I’ll take local tournaments seriously and be more determined on court no matter what.

“I don’t want to be banned from any tournament again ... this is certainly not the way I wanted to start the New Year.”

Daren, who is hoping to make the top 10 by the end of this year, is hoping to put the unfortunate episode behind him by achieving his best result in the Malaysian Open – at least a semi-final spot.

“Since I won’t be going to the Korean Open, I’ll have one extra week to brush up my game at home. My best outing in the Malaysian Open is a quarter-final finish (in 2009) .. I hope to go one step better this time,” he said.

“The crucial part will be in the second round and, hopefully, I can step it up.”

Daren faces Ajay Jayaram of India in the opening round either Indonesia’s Taufik Hidayat and Vietnam’s Nguyen Tien Minh for a place in the last eight.

He is in the same half as top seed Chong Wei and they could meet in the semi-finals.

Meanwhile, with Daren banned, Malaysia’s hopes in the men’s singles event of the Korean Open will rest on defending champion Chong Wei and Chong Wei Feng.

Chong Wei will take on China’s former world junior champion Wang Zhengming in the first round. The others in his half are Wei Feng, Viktor Axelsen of Denmark, Chen Jin of China, Taufik and Hong Kong’s Hu Yun.

Those in the lower half with Chen Long are compatriot Du Pengyu, Japan’s Kenichi Tago, Thailand’s Boonsak Ponsana and Denmark’s Jan O Jorgensen.

For the record, the Korean Open and Malaysian Open are the first two legs of the Super Series Tour this season.

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