Choong Hann: I will work on problems


By RAJES PAUL

PETALING JAYA: National number one men singles shuttler Wong Choong Hann is Malaysia's top qualifier for the World Championships. And he plans to justify his status before he takes the flight to Birmingham for the world meet. 

The 26-year-old Choong Hann has ended the 2002 season with a bang when he captured the China Open title in Guangzhou in November but since then, it had been a miserable run for the lanky shuttler. 

He lost his national crown to youngster Lee Chong Wei during the National Championships at the Selangor BA Hall at Kampung Attap in January.  

And his hope to go beyond the third round of the All-England also went bust when he lost to teammate Yong Hock Kin in the second round and last week, he suffered a third round defeat to 19-year-old Indonesian Sony Dwi Kuncoro at the Swiss Open. 

Choong Hann however, is hoping for a change of fortune before he gets a crack at the world meet. 

“There are three tournaments lined-up for us - Sudirman Cup (March 18-23), Japan Open (April 1-6) and Korean Open (April 8-13). I do not know which tournament I will be heading to next. I will wait for Misbun (Sidek, the national singles chief coach) to name the players for these tournaments,” said Choong Hann, who returned home from Basel on Saturday. 

The world meet is scheduled from May 12-18 in Birmingham. 

“If I am selected for the world meet, I will be going there as Malaysia's top qualifier. I will certainly be out to do well in the tournaments prior to the world meet to justify my selection. I have to show that I can still be counted by doing well in the coming tournaments.” 

And for a start, Choong Hann, currently ranked No.3 in the world, has vowed to check the slide in his game. 

“It was certainly a disappointing outing for me - both the All-England and Swiss Open - tournaments. I did not play up to the par. I have to analyse my game and work on my problems. I was not able to play my own game and I have to look at what broke my concentration and focus,” he promised. 

Based on the world rankings released by the International Badminton Federation (IBF) on Feb 20 and the restriction limit in all the events to 64 players, Malaysia can only send three men's singles for the world meet. 

Choong Hann is assured of his place. The other players in the running for the remaining two places are Mohd Hafiz Hashim, Lee Tsuen Seng, James Chua and Mohd Roslin Hashim. But the All-England champion Hafiz and Tsuen Seng, a quarter-finalist at the All-England, are likely to get the nod. 

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