PORT DICKSON: The four-day beach training stint at the Glory Beach Resort here was tough but it has revitalised national doubles shuttler Choong Tan Fook.
A slimmer Tan Fook is now looking forward to the World Championships, which will be played in Birmingham from July 28-Aug 3, with more confidence.
Tan Fook, who partners Lee Wan Wah, said on the completion of the stint yesterday: “It was so tough and there were times I felt like crying out loud.
“But I know I have to be physically and mentally strong for the world meet and I completed everything that was required of me.”
Tan Fook completed a 20-lap run yesterday in 86 minutes – 11 minutes outside the stipulated time.
“This beach training was certainly better for me because I was not troubled with pain on my knee,” said Tan Fook.
“I avoided actions that can put great pressure on my right knee. I am now lighter because I avoided taking supper and all those fried and oily food. I find that my movements are now lighter and faster.”
Tan Fook and Wan Wah will get quality matches against formidable Korean pairs in a Test series, beginning on Monday.
“We have not had tough matches for a long time and it will be good to test our strength against them. We have not played against their world number one (Kim Dong-moon-Ha Tae-kwon) since 2000,” said Tan Fook.
The friendly ties between Malaysia and South Korea will be played at three venues – Kota Baru, Alor Star and Kuala Lumpur.
The National Sports Institute's (NSI) physical trainer, Sean Sturgess, was pleased with the commitment of the players in the stint at Port Dickson and singled out the 27-year-old Tan Fook for mention.
“Every player here has reached a new level of achievement and some pushed themselves beyond what they felt they could do. Some wanted to quit but the others pull them up with words of encouragement. It was a great team building effort too,” said Sturgess.
“But Tan Fook needs a special mention. He followed a similar programme prior to the World Championships two years ago and did not complete most of the workouts.
“This time, he showed leadership. He stepped up when the going was tough. He was vocal and gave encouragement to the juniors. He even beat many of them here and completed all the tough tasks.”
Sturgess added that the fittest of the lot was Chan Chong Ming.
“He certainly deserves the king of the beach award,” he said.
Besides Tan Fook-Wan Wah, Malaysia will be represented by Chong Ming-Chew Choon Eng in the men's doubles of the World Championships. At the last championships in Seville in 2001, both pairs were the semi-finalists.
Lin Woon Fui was among the back-up shuttlers who underwent the beach training stint.
“All my muscles ached. It was certainly the toughest and a challenging training stint that I had undergone. It has helped me to be physically stronger to face upcoming challenges,” he said.
Unlike the seniors, who are gearing up for the friendly against the Koreans and the world meet, the back-up are preparing for the Open tournaments in Singapore (Aug 19-24), Indonesia (Aug 26-31) and Malaysia (Sept 2-7).