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Saturday December 8, 2012
By NG WEI LOON firstname.lastname@example.org
SEASONED campaigner Michael Lee ended his stint by joining the fray in the men’s 55 to 59 years age group at the Sawasdee Cup veteran badminton tournament in Chiangmai, Thailand recently.
The Klang Valley-based Michael’s Badminton Academy (MBA) director returned with a modest feat picking up two bronze medals in the three-day meet.
Besides finishing third in the men’s singles, Michael paired up with Indonesian Tan Johanes and the duo were the losing semi-finalists in the men’s doubles of the same category.
Lee admitted the local competitors from various clubs in Thailand provided stiff competition to the visiting entries.
“It has always been tough going up against the Thais.
“In recent years, they have been making their presence felt and stamping their mark as serious contenders in the veteran tournaments,” said Michael, adding that it will be exciting to move up to feature in the men’s 60 to 64 years category.
MBA fielded 13 shuttlers and they came home with a haul of two gold, two silver and six bronze medals.
Tan Chen Fal emerged as the team’s best performer and complemented his victory in men’s 70 to 74 years singles by forging a winning partnership with Lee Yin Lin in the combined age above 130 years mixed doubles.
In addition, Lim Thong Seng settled for second in both men’s 55 to 59 year singles and mixed doubles along with Yin Lin.
Other bronze medallists were Ong Then Lin (men’s 55 to 59 years singles), Lam Ching (men’s 75 to 79 years singles), Lam Ching-Lee Choi (men’s 75 to 79 years doubles) and Lee Choi-Wong Yin Choo (men’s combined age above 140 years doubles).
The recent meet held in conjunction with the significant 700th anniversary of the Chiangmai Sports Complex drew an encouraging response including foreign entries from China, Hong Kong, Macau, Japan, Singapore, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, New Zealand, Australia, United States and Canada.
Among the other Malaysia teams in action were Anthrium, Woon Badminton Sports, Negri Sembilan Chinese Recreation Club (NSCRC), Air Asia and Air Asia Powerful.
Following the success of Thailand hosting the 17th World Chinese Badminton Invitation Championships at Pattaya in 2010, Michael said they were amazed with the Thai authorities and local sponsors throwing their support behind the recent event.
“The Thai-Chinese Friendship Association president Korn Dabbaransi also indicated that it will be an annual affair and Bangkok will be the likely venue next year.
“Their partners were extremely supportive.
“They pulled off another good show in promoting sports tourism with visitors turning up for the tournament. For us, it was a fun-filled outing.
“We even extended our stay for another three days visiting Bangkok after the tournament,” he added.
Meanwhile, MBA are considering to introduce two categories of men’s doubles team events when Malaysia host the 13th Sudirman Cup world mixed team championships at Putra Stadium, Bukit Jalil May 19-26 next year.
One section will comprise teams competing in the combined age above 70 years, 80 years and 90 years in each tie while combinations of combined age above 100 years, 110 years and 120 years will be tussling for supremacy in the other category.
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