Hou wonderful his world is


On top of the world: Cheah Liek Hou (left) and Fareez Anuar (right) posing with coach Nova Armada after their wins yesterday

PETALING JAYA: Para shuttler Cheah Liek Hou has been simply phenomenal at the Word Championships and proved yet again what a priced asset he is for Malaysia by clinching a double in Pattaya yesterday.

The Paralympic champion outsmarted his nemesis Dheva Anrimusthi of Indonesia 21-15, 16-21, 21-15 in 62 minute to win his eighth men’s singles world title in the SU5 (upper impermanent) category again.

It is hard to find the superlatives to describe Liek Hou’s success rate as the 36-year-old also added the men’s doubles title with Fareez Anuar after beating Indian pair Chirag Baretha-Raj Kumar 21-17, 21-18 in 30 minutes.

That was his sixth doubles crown and Liek Hou now is the proud owner of 14 world titles since winning his first in Taiwan in 2005.

And the good news is that he could still be challenging younger shuttlers at the major event in two year’s time.

Liek Hou claimed that yesterday’s victory was special after Dheva denied him the singles goal at the Hangzhou Asian Games last year but he was quick to remind that Dheva was only 25 and it would always be a tough battle against the Indonesian in every tournament, especially at the Paralympics in Paris.

“It is definitely a good revenge and gives me the confidence ahead of my title defence at the Paris Paralympics this year but Dheva is younger and faster. Our rivalry is always going to be very close,” said Liek Hou.

“He (Dheva) moves around the court faster and is physically stronger and I always to need to be crafty and use my experience to counter him,” said Liek Hou.

“It’s never easy playing him and at my age, I cannot expect anything on a silver platter or just bank on purely from reputation.

“It’s going to be hard work and I have to always start fresh in every tournament and prepare well. It’ll be the same in Paris if I want to win gold.

“Even in Pattaya, the the court surface wasn’t good and it cost a lot distress on my knees and only during the final, they used a double layer court mat which gave some comfort.

“I have to learn ways to overcome every shortcoming and face new challenges.”

However, Liek Hou is delighted that he is still able win a double and keep continuing his fine run at the world event for the last 19 years.

Like Hou won first of his four doubles crowns with Suhalli Laiman (2005, 2007, 2011 and 2013) and fifth with Hairol Fozi Saaba in 2015 before a sixth title yesterday.

“It’s such a long journey for me and I am grateful to God for keeping me in good health all this while since winning the singles and doubles titles for the first time in 2005,” said Liek Hou.

“It’s not easy to win eight golds in the singles and six in the doubles and I believe my latest success will boost my confidence and I will keep striving for more success, especially in the Olympics.

“I also hope that Fareez will be pumped up by the doubles crown and he can also use it as a stepping stone to win more honours on the international stage.”

Coach Nova Armada also felt that Liek Hou is on the right track for his title defence in Paris.

“Liek Hou’s performance is quite steady and is on track for Paralympics gold. But as usual we will keep Dheva in mind and continue working hard,” said Nova.

Meanwhile, Noor Azlan Noorlan-Ikhwan Ramli finished as the runners-up in the men’s doubles wheelchair category after losing 10-21, 13-21 to Mai Jianpeng-Qu Zimo of China in 28 minutes. (Only Malaysians)Men

SU5 singles: Cheah Liek Hou bt Dheva Anrimusthi (Ina) 21-15, 16-21, 21-15.

SU5 doubles: Cheah Liek Hou-Fareez Anuar bt Chirag Baretha-Raj Kumar (Ind) 21-17, 21-18.

WH1 (wheelchair) doubles: Mai Jianpeng-Qu Zimo (Chn) bt Noor Azlan Noorlan-Ikhwan Ramli 21-10, 21-13.

FINAL RESULTS

(Only Malaysians)

Men

SU5 singles: Cheah Liek Hou bt Dheva Anrimusthi (Ina) 21-15, 16-21, 21-15.

SU5 doubles: Cheah Liek Hou-Fareez Anuar bt Chirag Baretha-Raj Kumar (Ind) 21-17, 21-18.

WH1 (wheelchair) doubles: Mai Jianpeng-Qu Zimo (Chn) bt Noor Azlan Noorlan-Ikhwan Ramli 21-10, 21-13.

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