Independent shuttler gets a place in Asiad squad

KUALA LUMPUR: What a week it has been for independent shuttler Liew Daren (pic).

Just days after claiming a surprise bronze medal at the World Championships in Nanjing, the 31-year-old has now earned himself a ticket to the Asian Games in Indonesia from Aug 18-Sept 2.

It will be Daren’s second Asiad appearance after making his debut in Guangzhou in 2010.

The Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) initially named youngster Cheam June Wei to replace Lee Chong Wei who has been sidelined by illness.

But they have opted for Daren after witnessing the former French Open champion’s inspiring display in Nanjing last week.

BAM president Datuk Seri Norza Zakaria said Daren will play in both the individual and team events.

“Instead of June Wei, we have decided to replace Chong Wei with Daren,” said Norza at the Wisma OCM here yesterday.

“Daren and Lee Zii Jia will be our representatives in the men’s singles (individual) event.

“Daren has given his commitment to us.

“He will join us next week and train for a week with the national team before going off to Jakarta.

“Today is the last day of registration of entries. There’s no other changes to the team.”

The others in 10-man squad are Leong Jun Hao, Soong Joo Ven, Goh V Shem, Tan Wee Kiong, Ong Yew Sin, Teo Ee Yi, Chan Peng Soon and Goh Soon Huat.

The BAM have stuck to their men’s doubles line-up despite considering the other world meet high achievers Aaron Chia and Soh Wooi Yik into the squad.

Debutants Aaron-Wooi Yik made it to the last eight before losing to eventual champions Li Junhui-Liu Yuchen of China.

Daren was over the moon after learning about his inclusion.

“I’m definitely surprised because I didn’t see it coming at all,” said Daren.

“I’m really happy that my hard work is being recognised.

“The call-up, however, comes with a huge responsibility. But I’m ready for the challenge.

“I will do my best, especially trying to win a point for Malaysia (in the team event).

“I won’t be there to make up the numbers.”

Daren also confirmed that his ankle injury sustained at the world meet was not serious.

“I went to see the doctor and was told it wasn’t too serious. I should be able to recover in a week,” he said.

Daren’s inclusion has sparked hopes for Malaysia in their bid to retain their bronze medal in the men’s team event.

Based on his ranking, he is expected to be handed the first singles duty.

liew daren , asian games