KUALA LUMPUR: Two brothers from Penang – Loh Kean Yean and Loh Kean Yew – nearly helped Singapore turn the tables on mighty China on the opening day of the Asia Team Championships in Hyderabad, India.
The 21-year-old Kean Yean combined superbly with Terry Hee Yong Kai in the first doubles to upset world No. 11 and former All-England champions Liu Xiaolong-Qiu Zihan 16-21, 21-13, 21-10 in 45 minutes.
Minutes later, 19-year-old Kean Yew, who started representing Singapore three years ago, stunned world No. 11 Wang Zhengming 21-15, 21-16 in 40 minutes in the second singles.
Although Singapore eventually lost their men’s Group A match 3-2 to China – following defeats to Derek Wong, Danny Bawa Chrisnanta-Hendra Wijaya and Ryan Ng Zin Rei – the tiny nation caught the world’s imagination with their fighting display.
And it is this kind of fighting spirit that Morten Forst wants his young Malaysian shuttlers to embrace when they begin their Group B campaign on Tuesday.
“It was a fantastic show by Singapore. That’s the spirit. This is what I’d like to see in our Malaysian players too,” said Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) technical director Frost.
Judging from their dedication in training, Frost is quite confident that Malaysia can give the top teams a run for their money.
“The players are excited. This is a special platform for them to showcase their talents. I believe that they want to prove that they are not the reserve team,” said Frost, who believes that with proper guidance, the younger players will step out of the shadows of Lee Chong Wei.
“Sometimes, our younger players are a bit lost. They do not know what they want and how to go about achieving it. It’s easy for them to say that they want to be in the top 10 ... but how they go about achieving it is another matter,” he said.
“But with the right exposure and guidance, I believe that they can step up to the plate.”
The Malaysian men’s shuttlers – Zulfadli Zulkiffli, Iskandar Zulkarnain Zainuddin, Soo Teck Zhi, Soong Joo Ven, Tan Kian Meng-Low Juan Shen, Teo Ee Yi-Ong Yew Sin and Tan Chee Tean-Tan Wee Gieen – are in Group B with Japan, Sri Lanka and Nepal. They face Sri Lanka on Tuesday.
The Malaysian women’s team – Ho Yen Mei, Lim Yin Fun, Goh Jin Wei, Lee Ying Ying, Vivian Hoo-Woon Khe Wei, Chow Mei Kuan-Lee Meng Yean and Amelia Anscelly – are in Group A with top seeds China and Hong Kong. They will face Hong Kong on Tuesday.
Group A: China bt Singapore 3-2 (Tian Houwei bt Derek Wong 21-11, 21-12; Liu Xiaolong-Qiu Zihan lost to Terry Hee-Loh Kean Hean 21-16, 13-21, 11-21; Wang Zhengming lost to Loh Kean Yew 15-21, 16-21; Li Junhui-Liu Yuchen bt Danny Bawa Chrisnanta-Hendra Wijaya 21-18, 21-14; Qiao Bin bt Ryan Ng Zin Rei 21-15, 19-21, 21-13).
Group D: South Korea bt the Philippines 5-0 (Lee Dong-keun bt Frell Keeyann Gabuelo 21-8, 21-6; Ko Sung-hyun-Shin Baek-cheol bt Ronel Estanislao-Paul Jefferson Vivas 21-13, 21-12; Hyeok Jin-jeon bt Mark Shelley Alcala 23-25, 21-10, 21-16; Choi Solgyu-Kim Jae-hwan bt Peter Gabriel Magnaye-Alvin Morada 21-12, 21-13; Heo Kwang-hee bt Michael Kevin Cudiamat 21-16, 21-9).
Group B: Thailand bt Sri Lanka 5-0 (Busanan Ongbumrungphan bt Lekha Shehani 21-11, 21-9; Porntip Buranaprasertsuk bt Thilini Pramodika Hendahewa 21-5, 21-7; Pornpawee Chochuwong bt Ishadika Kavidi 21-8, 21-8; Puttita Supajirakul-Sapsiree Taerattanachai (Tha) bt Achini Ratnasiri-Upuli Samanthika Weerasinghe 21-12, 21-11; Chaladchalam Chayanit-Phataimas Muenwong bt Ishadika Kavidi-Oshadie Kuruppu 21-7, 21-11).