Badminton: Maiden title for new pair

KUALA LUMPUR: The new men's doubles pairing of Chan Chong Ming-Hoon Thien How ensured themselves a merry Christmas yesterday when they capped a smashing run with an upset win over more illustrious teammates Mohd Fairuzizuan Mohd Tazari-Lin Woon Fui to win the Kuala Lumpur Open title at the Kuala Lumpur Badminton Stadium yesterday. 

Chong Ming-Thien How came from behind to beat Fairuzizuan-Woon Fui 22-20 in the first game.  

BREAKTHROUGH WIN: Hoon Thien How (left) celebrates withChan Chong Ming after winning the men’s doubles title at theKL Open yesterday. – STARpic BY KAMARUL ARIFFIN

Although Fairuzizuan-Woon Fui came back strongly in the late stages of the second game, Chong Ming-Thien How hung on to win 22-20 for their first victory in the local circuit. 

In the men's singles final, Mohd Hafiz Hashim failed in his bid to end Lee Chong Wei's three-year unbeaten streak.  

Chong Wei, who has not been beaten in the local circuit since 2003, took just 35 minutes to beat Hafiz 21-15, 21-18 to win his first local title of the year.  

Chong Wei did not compete in the first leg in Malacca earlier in the year because he had to take part in international tournaments to maintain his world rankings before the World Championships in Madrid in September. 

While Chong Wei lived up to his top billing, it was Chong Ming-Thien How who stole the show. 

They edged top seeds and veterans Lee Wan Wah-Choong Tan Fook in three games in the quarter-finals before yesterday's win over their rivals, who had just returned from the Asian Games. 

At the semi-finals stage, Fairuzizuan-Woon Fui had beaten Asian Games champions Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong. 

The maiden win yesterday was doubly joyful for Thien How, who turns 20 today. Chong Ming and Thien How each pocketed RM3,000 for their efforts.  

Chong Ming said they had been hugely motivated for the final.  

“We had more desire to win as Fairuzizuan-Woon Fui are the national champions.  

“This is our first victory since we were paired off with each other last month. Our hope now is to continue improving and qualify for the World Championships to be held in Kuala Lumpur next year,” said Chong Ming. 

Thien How had been Boon Heong's partner when the pair won the world junior title in 2004.  

Chong Ming's two-year partnership with Kien Keat ended when he was left out of the squad to the Asian Games in Doha. Kien Keat and Boon Heong went on to end a 36-year Asian Games drought for Malaysia when they took the men's doubles gold in Doha. 

For Chong Wei, it was a hard earned win.  

“Hafiz and I are not in the best of conditions because we have just come back from the Asian Games.  

“But I was determined not to lose this match. I wanted to keep my unbeaten record in the local circuit,” said Chong Wei, who received a winner's cheque of RM4,000. 


Division 1 

Men's singles: Lee Chong Wei bt Mohd Hafiz Hashim 21-15, 21-18.  

Women's singles: Wong Mew Choo bt Julia Wong 21-18, 21-16.  

Men's doubles: Chan Chong Ming-Hoon Thien How bt Mohd Fairuzizuan Mohd Tazari-Lin Woon Fui 22-20, 22-20.  

Women's doubles: Chin Eei Hui-Wong Pei Tty bt See Phui Leng-Fong Chew Yen 21-19, 21-16.  

Mixed doubles: Koo Kien Keat-Wong Pei Tty bt Gan Teik Chai-Fong Chew Yen 21-13, 18-21, 21-15. 

Division 2 

Men's singles: Kuan Kam Chung bt Lim Fang Yang 21-19, 21-18. 

Women's singles: Tiffany Chase Currier bt Sanatasah Saniru 22-20, 22-24, 21-19.  

Men's doubles: Ong Jian Goo-Goh Wei Shem bt Lim Khim Wah-Mak Hee Chun 21-19, 17-21, 21-18 

Women's doubles: Lim Yee Theng-Ng Paou Ling bt Goh Liu Ying-Hoo Bee Ling 21-16, 21-17.  

Mixed doubles: Mak Hee Chun-Sanatasah Saniru-Esther Ratna Devi 21-19, 21-16. 

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