PETALING JAYA: Pool players Esther Kwan and Suhana Dewi Sabtu have a score to settle in the SEA Games in Korat next month.
The duo want to avenge the humiliating defeat by defending champion Rubilen Dacua Amit of the Philippines at the last Games in 2005. Then in Manila, Amit was in devastating form en route to claiming the nine-ball pools singles gold medal. She thrashed Esther 11-1 in the quarter-finals and gave Suhana no chance to get to the table in the final, winning 11-0.
Said Esther: “It's pay back time. I guess we were nervous then as it was our first major international competition. But we have grown stronger and we will be out to avenge our defeats.”
Esther was virtually an unknown in the international cue sports fraternity before the Doha Asiad last December. But in Qatar, she made heads turn with a silver medal-winning effort in the women's nine-ball pool competition, losing to former world champion Liu Sin of Taiwan in the final.
“We have learnt from our past mistakes playing against Amit. She takes her time and makes few errors in the game. This time, we will be prepared to deal with her and have a game plan to counter her playing style,” said Esther.
Besides Esther and Suhana, Malaysia have two newcomers for the eight and nine-ball pool competitions. They are Wong Poi Sei and Lim Siew Boon.
The men's team comprise Moh Keen Hoo, John Yong Kien Foot, Thor Chuan Leong (snooker, carrom); Ibrahim Amir, Benjamin Lee Poh Soon (pool); and Moh Loon Hoong, Roslan Yurnalis (billiards).
There are 13 gold medals at stake and the Malaysian Snooker and Billiards Federation (MSBF) have set a modest target to win two of them. At the 2005 Games, Malaysia had a haul of 0-1-5.
The team for the Korat Games will leave for Taiwan today for their final lap of preparations.