Seng Zoe’s eyes are smiling after high at Irish Open

Unbelievable: Malaysia’s Yeoh Seng Zoe beat Mads Christophersen of Denmark to win the Irish Open.

PETALING JAYA: Being cash-strapped means independent shuttler Yeoh Seng Zoe has to be selective in his tournament planning.

The 24-year-old could not afford to enter all the three back-to-back International Challenge (sixth-tier) tournaments from last week’s Irish Open, Scottish Open (Nov 25-28) and Welsh International (Dec 1-4), so he opted to just compete in Ireland.

And world No. 148 Seng Zoe struck it big, pocketing €984 (RM4,645) for his win.

On Saturday, the former national Under-21 champion upset Denmark’s world No. 72 Mads Christophersen 21-18, 21-14 to win the sixth-tier Irish Open for the biggest title of his career.

“To be frank, I didn’t think I could go all the way to win it. I actually had a flight to catch to Germany for a league match there, so I had to cancel it!” said Seng Zoe.“This is my career’s second international title but also the biggest yet. I won the Nepal International two years ago, but that was an International Series-rated event (seventh-tier).

“It’s definitely a confidence-booster and hopefully, it helps me to improve my world ranking. It’s a goal of mine to be rank high enough to get me into the World Tour events regularly.”

Seng Zoe explained that he was depending on the income earned from playing for German club TSV Neuhausen-Nymphenburgin to make ends meet and fund him for the international circuit.

It was the second time Seng Zoe had returned to Europe after he took up a job in June to serve as a sparring partner to Irish No. 1 Nhat Nguyen who was preparing for the Tokyo Olympics.

“After my previous stint with Badminton Ireland, I just got back to Europe last month to play in the German professional league. I’ve managed to set aside some money to play in tournaments, but I have to be selective,” he said.

“I didn’t enter my name for the next meets in Scotland and Wales because I simply could not afford them. I’ll stick to my plan to play for my club until Dec 5.”

Malaysia also produced winners in the men’s doubles through rising stars Tee Kai Wun-Man Wei Chong.

They proved too hot to handle for Rory Easton-Zach Russ of England as they clinched a 21-7, 21-17 win in just 26 minutes.

It was Kai Wun-Wei Chong’s third title of the season, adding to their previous triumphs at the Polish Open in March and Spanish International in June.

Currently ranked 93rd, the pair’s victory is expected to catapult them to 75th when the new ranking list is released tomorrow.

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