Liek Hou gets timely warm-up at pro league ahead of worlds

PETALING JAYA: Cheah Liek Hou’s (pic) aim of regaining his men’s singles crown at the World Para Championships has received a boost after he landed a chance to compete against able-bodied shuttlers in the ongoing Senheng RedOne Purple League Professional.

Liek Hou, who is a member of the Petaling Badminton Club (PBC), was supposed to be a reserve as the team had World Tour regulars Cheam June Wei and Brice Leverdez of France.

However, June Wei’s involvement in the Vietnam Open had opened the doors for Liek Hou to see action in the Purple League, which was perfect as part of his preparation for the world meet from Nov 1-6 in Tokyo.

June Wei’s return from Vietnam was delayed as the independent player advanced to the semi-finals where he lost to Sun Feixiang of China on Saturday.

Liek Hou defeated local player Tan Jia Jie 11-8, 11-5, 11-9 that paved the way for PBC’s close 10-8 win over Ampang Jaya Badminton Club (AJBC) in Group B. He also defeated Marcus Phil Lau Jun Hui 11-9, 11-9, 11-9 of Singapore Badminton Team (SBT).

Liek Hou, who last won the world para men’s singles crown in Ulsan, South Korea in 2017, will be challenged by his arch-enemy Dheva Anrimusthi of Indonesia in Tokyo.

“I consider myself lucky to play against able-bodied shuttlers in the Purple League as this is an ideal preparation for the world meet,” said Liek Hou.

“My last tournament was the Thailand Para in August and I have been focusing on training since then.

“Sparring with able-bodied shuttlers is an important part of my training. Now that June Wei is back, Petaling are expected to field him and Leverdez for the coming match against a power-packed Candra Wijaya International Badminton Centre tomorrow.

“June Wei will get his chance also and anything from now on is a bonus for me,” added Liek Hou.

The group stage is being held at the Malawati Stadium in Shah Alam while the semi-finals and final matches will be held at the Arena of Stars in Resort World Genting this weekend.

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