PETALING JAYA: Cheah Liek Hou is not disappointed that he won’t be able to defend his SU5 gold medal at the Asean Para Games (June 3-9) as a more important mission – the Asian Para Games in Hangzhou – await him in October.
Liek Hou, who never says no to an opportunity to compete internationally, said the National Sports Council (NSC) have made the call for the back-up players to gain exposure and fight for medals in Cambodia.
The 2020 Tokyo Paralympics champion has encouraged players like Fareez Anuar and Fariz Asri, who both play on the Badminton World Federation (BWF) para badminton tour with him, to go for podium finishes in Phnom Penh.
“I’m not defending my gold as NSC want the younger shuttlers to go for the Asean Para Games, so the Asian Para Games (Oct 22-26) will be my focus,” said the 35-year-old Liek Hou.
“To those juniors, there is no pressure to win gold but they should fight for podium finishes.
“I’ve been set a target to win the Asian Para Games gold and I have another four months to prepare for it. My training has been going on well.
“However, I also have other important tournaments for my build-up to the 2024 Paris Paralympics. I will be playing in the Canadian Para International which is a BWF Level 1 competition that is important for Paralympics qualification.
“Once that is over, I will go full swing into Asian Para Games preparation to prepare to win the gold.”
Liek Hou is not a novice at the Asian Para Games as he has won four golds in the men’s singles and doubles. He achieved the double twice at the 2010 Guangzhou Games and the 2014 Incheon Games.
However, Liek Hou could only settle for bronze medals in both events in Jakarta four years ago.
Due to his age, Liek Hou is expected to focus on reclaiming the singles gold and is not expected to burden himself by playing in the doubles with Fareez.
The Asean Para contingent left for Cambodia yesterday.