PETALING JAYA: You can’t keep a determined shuttler like Cheah Liek Hou (pic) down for long.
After failing to retain the world title in Basel, Switzerland, last month, the 31-year-old bounced back in style when he stormed into two finals — the men’s singles and doubles — at the Thailand Para-badminton International in Bangkok yesterday.
Liek Hou powered past Japan’s Taiyo Imai 21-19,21-16 in the semi-finals of the SU5 (impairment in upper body) at the Huamark Indoor Stadium to set up a title clash with Fang Jen-yu of Taiwan.
World No. 4 Liek Hou has beaten Jen-yu in the group stage in Basel.
Liek Hou will be aiming for a double as he’s also partnering Mohd Fariz Ahmad Azriin in the men’s doubles final.
The duo ousted France-Turkey combination Meril Loquette-Ilker Tuzcu 21-18,21-10 to set up a final date with Thailand’s Watcharaphon Chok-Uthaikul-Pricha Somsiri today.
“I’m really hungry for a title as I’ve yet to win one this year, ” said Liek Hou, who boasts 11 world titles — six singles and five doubles — under his belt.
“The last I tasted success was at the Uganda International where I won two titles in May last year. I’m hoping to repeat the feat and give myself something to cheer about after the Basel disappointment.
“Although I’ve beaten the Taiwanese previously, I’m taking nothing for granted.
“The same goes to the Thai pair, I think our past results will count for nothing as they have home-ground advantage.”
Liek Hou’s passage to both finals has been made easier with the absence of top Indonesian rivals Dheva Anrismusthi and Suryo Nugroho, the world No. 1 and No. 2.
“I heard that they failed to meet the registration deadline, that’s why they are not here, ” said Liek Hou.
Also through to the final was another Malaysian Yanti Aspar in the women’s singles SS6 (short stature) class.
Yanti faces Chai Saeyang of Thailand after defeating Lam Ching Yung of Hong Kong 21-15,21-13 yesterday.
Mohd Ikhwan Ramli failed to make the men’s singles WH1 (wheelchair) final after losing 18-21,19-21 to South Korea’s Lee Sam-seop in the semi-finals.