KUALA LUMPUR: It’s not all gloom and doom after none of the Malaysian shuttlers managed to sparkle at the Denmark Open.
There is still national para badminton star Cheah Liek Hou that the nation can always count on.
The 31-year-old exacted sweet revenge on arch-rival Suryo Nugroho of Indonesia to win the SU5 singles (impairment in upper body) at the Denmark Para-badminton International yesterday, which was held simulteneously with the Denmark Open in Odense.
Liek Hou saw off world No. 2 Suryo 21-18,21-9 in what was a surprisingly lopsided battle.
Liek Hou earned back his bragging rights after suffering his first defeat in two years to Suryo during the China Para-badminton International final three weeks ago.
“Winning today certainly feels extra special as I managed to avenge my defeat to Suryo in China recently, ” said Liek Hou, who is also the Thailand Para-badminton International winner last month.
“But I didn’t expect to win it with ease. I was preparing to play a demanding three-game encounter. His game was a bit off and he’s more error-prone than me.
“It’s very important for me beat him to the title as I will now move closer to take the world No. 2 position from him.”
Liek Hou’s second singles victory in three recent tournaments has swiftly quashed any thoughts of him being past his prime after failing to defend his world crown in Basel, Switzerland, in August.
Liek Hou has been the undisputed world champion since 2011. His latest success re-established him as one of the gold medal contenders at next year’s Tokyo Paralympics.
But Liek Hou refused to get carried away.
Asked if his next target is to beat his nemesis Dheva Anrimusthi of Indonesia, who is also the reigning world champion and world No. 1, Liek Hou replied: “I will have to wait until next year before I can meet Dheva again. He has collected enough points to qualify for Tokyo as the top shuttler and will not enter any more tournaments.
“But it’s not only him I’m trying to beat. I have to tread carefully as there are other rivals in my category.
“When you’re winning, they will be paying extra attention to you and study your game. To be honest, the rest are really good too and improving all the time, ” said Liek Hou, who will switch his focus to the Japan Para-badminton International in Tokyo from Nov 11-17.
The meet will serve as the Paralympic Games’ test event.
“I hope to keep the momentum going. It will be my last tournament of the year and I hope to end it with a bang, ” he vowed.
DENMARK OPEN RESULTS
Women’s singles: Tai Tze-ying (Tpe) bt Nozomi Okuhara (Tpe) 21-17,21-14.
Mixed doubles: Wang Yilyu-Huang Dongping (Chn)... Praveen Jordan-Melati Daeva Oktavianti (Ina)...
Men’s singles: Kento Momota (Jpn) bt Tommy Sugiarto (Ina) 21-12,21-19; Chen Long (Chn) bt Viktor Axelsen (Den) 12-21,21-14,21-19.
Men’s doubles: Marcus Fernaldi Gideon-Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo (Ina) bt Lu Ching-yao-Yang Po-han (Tpe) 21-16,21-11; Mohammad Ahsan-Hendra Setiawan (Ina) bt Takeshi Kamura-Keigo Sonoda (Jpn) 21-19,19-21,21-15.
Women’s doubles: Chen Qingchen-Jia Yifan (Chn) bt Yuki Fukushima-Sayaka Hirota (Jpn) 18-21,21-17,21-18; Baek Ha-na-Jung Kyung-eun (Kor) bt Mayu Matsumoto-Wakana Nagahara (Jpn) 19-21,21-12,21-15.