Liek Hou downplays chances in Asean meet despite fine run

KUALA LUMPUR: Shuttler Cheah Liek Hou (pic) has put himself as the favourite for a double in the Asean Para Games after extending his winning streak in the international stage yet again.

On Sunday, top seed Liek Hou defeated Taiyo Imai of Japan 21-17, 21-16 in the SU5 (physical impairment) men’s singles final to bag his eleventh title on the trot in the 4 Nations Para Badminton International in Dublin, Ireland.

He also swept another title with Mohd Faris Ahmad Azri in the men’s doubles. They had beaten all the pairs in their group – Gullaume Gailly-Mathieu Thomas of France (21-9, 21-10), Nilesh Balu Gaiwad-Manoj Sarkar of India (21-6, 21-16) and Chirag Baretha-Hardik Makkar from India (21-19, 21-17).

Despite his fine run, the world No. 1 does not want to rest on his laurels in the Asean meet in Surakarta, Indonesia, from July 30 to Aug 6.

“It will be a big challenge because Indonesia’s Dheva Anrimusthi, whom I was up against in the Tokyo Paralympics final last year, will also be competing. He has the home advantage,” he said.

“I hope there will be no injuries before we (the team) go there and when we are in Indonesia.”

In Tokyo, Liek Hou defeated Dheva 21-17, 21-15, and thus created history when he became the first player ever to win the Paralympic gold in the men’s singles SU5 category as badminton made its debut at the Tokyo Paralympics.

Meanwhile, national wheelchair para badminton ace Mohd Ikhwan Ramli and his partner, Noor Azwan Noorlan, came out tops against Rick Cornell Hellmann-Thomas Wandschneider of Germany, winning 20-22, 21-17, 21-11 in the WH1-WH2 (physical impairment) category.

Earlier, Ikhwan failed to win the men’s singles WH1 event after he went down to Hiroshi Murayama of Japan 10-21, 14-21. — Bernama

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