A glint of gold, thanks to indies

  • Badminton
  • Sunday, 17 May 2020

PETALING JAYA: Para shuttler Cheah Liek Hou (pic) is well on his way to becoming a Paralympic Games champion, thanks to the able-bodied independent shuttlers.

Liek Hou, who competes in the SU5 class (impairment in upper body), has been getting top quality sparring session from the likes of Liew Daren, Soong Joo Ven, Iskandar Zulkarnain Zainuddin, Chong Yee Han and Yeoh Seng Zoe.

This on top of the support he gets from National Sports Council (NSC) and coaches Rashid Sidek and Indonesian Nova Armada, the 32-year-old revealed.

Liek Hou has his eyes on the Tokyo Paralympics and had been in sizzling form just before the lockdown, picking up four titles in succession and keeping his unbeaten run dating back to last November.

He also beat his nemesis and world No. 1 Dheva Anrimusthi of Indonesia for the first time since 2017 at the Brazil Para-Badminton International – a morale-boosting win that ignited his hopes of becoming Malaysia’s first gold medal winner in para badminton when the sport makes its debut in Tokyo next year.

“I definitely owe it to my training mates at the Sports Affairs (SA) Academy. I was able to return to the top of my game after a difficult spell, partly thanks to them, ” said Liek Hou.“My usual sparring partners are the junior shuttlers from the SA programme, but I do train with Daren, Soong, Iskandar, Yee Han and Seng Zoe sometimes.

“It helps a lot to spar with the able-bodied shuttlers. Moreover, these are among the top guys in the country.

“They take the training matches seriously. There will be no handicap points for me. But of course, with the massive gap of playing level, I am usually be happy to take 10 points off any of them.

“By pushing myself against stronger opponents, my overall game has gone up by a notch.”

Liek Hou has also received pleasant updates from the NSC. He can resume training by next month, pending approval.

“The latest I heard is that the NSC will arrange me to train at the ABM (Academy Badminton Malaysia) with my coaches and some sparring partners in June, ” he said.

“But nothing is certain yet. I’m still waiting for the confirmation. Hopefully it won’t be too long before I train again.”

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