Liek Hou worried Para-Games deferment will hamper his chances

  • Badminton
  • Thursday, 19 Mar 2020

PETALING JAYA: The Tokyo Paralympics is months away but national para shuttler Cheah Liek Hou (pic) is already feeling uneasy.

He is worried that the Paralympics from Aug 25-Sept 6 will be shelved like many other tournaments due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

There have been calls from athletes and officials around the globe for the Olympic Games from July 25-Aug 9 and the Paralympics to be postponed as the outbreak has not shown any signs of slowing down.

The deferment might put Liek Hou’s chances in jeopardy as he has been in top form by winning four titles in succession and keeping his unbeaten run dating back to last November.

Liek Hou emerged triumphant in Denmark and Japan before carrying the fine momentum into this year to capture two more victories in Brazil and Peru last month.

He has also beaten his nemesis and world No. 1 Dheva Anrimusthi of Indonesia for that first time since 2017 in Sao Paolo and that has ignited his hopes of becoming Malaysia’s first gold medal winner in para badminton as the sport makes its debut in Tokyo.

It was Dheva who dethroned him at the Para World Championships in Basel last year, preventing Liek Hou from winning the title for the seventh time.

“The uncertainty ahead of the Paralympics is a big concern for me. I’m in the best shape of my life and I’m aiming to peak in August for the Games but any delay may spoil my chances, ” lamented Liek Hou.

“It has taken me a lot of effort and determination to get back where I am now. I’m also quite confident after winning against Dheva.

Liek Hou has no tournaments to take part for the time being as the Spanish and Dubai Internationals have been suspended due to coronavirus.

Like all Malaysians, who are living under the restricted movement control order for two weeks, Liek Hou took the situation in his stride.

“Health is the priority now, ” he said.

“A Sarawak athlete (hammer thrower Jackie Wong) has been tested positive for Covid-19, it can happen to anyone. I hope all Malaysians will not take things for granted.”

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