KUALA TERENGGANU: Back-up shuttler Liew Daren and Bukit Jalil Sports School’s (BJSS) top junior pair Lim Khim Wah-Mak Hee Chun bagged their biggest career wins on the opening day of the Proton National Grand Prix Finals at the Kuala Terengganu Indoor Stadium here yesterday.
The 20-year-old Liew, from the Project 2010-12 squad, caused a stir in the men’s singles event when he knocked out Kuan Beng Hong 21-18, 21-17 in a Group B match yesterday.
Liew is only the second player from Rashid Sidek’s squad to have upset a senior player following Tan Chun Seang’s win over former international Lee Tsuen Seng at the Kedah Open in 2005.
Said the Kuala Lumpur lad: “Finally, I have beaten a senior player. This is really satisfying. Beng Hong (who is down with fever) did not play well and I took advantage of that.”
Liew, however, is unlikely to reach the semi-finals after losing 19-21, 13-21 to Wong Choong Hann in an earlier match.
He will take on gritty Lim Fang Yang today and only the group champions will advance to the semi-finals.
Except for Beng Hong, the other seniors, led by four-time national champion Lee Chong Wei, cleared their first two group matches yesterday – though some had to stave off strong challenges from the back-up players.
The day also belonged to Khim Wah-Hee Chun, who qualified for their first ever GP Finals by virtue of being the Division Two champions.
They upset world number 15 Gan Teik Chai-Zakry Abdul Latif 13-21, 21-17, 21-17 in 42 minutes in their opening Group B match yesterday.
Today, Khim Wah-Hee Chun will have to beat at least one of the two other top pairs – Chan Chong Ming-Hoon Thien How and Tan Bin Shen-Ong Soon Hock – who are in their group to qualify for the last four.
Chong Ming-Thien Hoon defeated Bin Shen-Soon Hock 21-17, 21-19 earlier yesterday.
The 18-year-old Khim Wah, who reached the World Junior and Asian Junior semi-finals with Hee Chun last year, said: “This is the first time that we have beaten a senior pair in a competitive tournament. This win has raised our hopes for a place in the semi-finals.”
National doubles coach Rexy Mainaky, who arrived from Kuala Lumpur just in time to watch the defeat of Teik Chai-Zakry, had words of consolation for the duo.
“I told Teik Chai and Zakry not to worry. Their target is the All-England. In fact, the doubles players have been undergoing physical training the last one week and I knew it had taken its toll on them,” said Rexy.
“But I want to commend the BJSS boys. I have big plans for the BJSS and Project 2010-12 squad. There will be regular joint training sessions,” he said.
In the women’s doubles, favourites Chin Eei Hui-Wong Pei Tty withdrew from the tournament following a right knee injury to Eei Hui.