Peng Soon-Khim Wah snatch maiden Open title

KUALA LUMPUR: Youngsters Chan Peng Soon-Lim Khim Wah jumped in sheer joy when they nailed their first men’s doubles international title in the Thailand Open yesterday by upsetting World Championships-bound Choong Tan Fook-Lee Wan Wah in Bangkok.

The back-up shuttlers overcame a nervous start to beat the seasoned campaigners and top seeds 20-22, 21-14, 21-11 in only their first appearance in a men’s doubles final of an Open tournament.

It was also the duo’s first win against the Malaysian veterans.

They had earlier beaten another Malaysian World Championships-bound pair – Chan Chong Ming-Chew Choon Eng – in the quarter-finals and upset Malaysian Open runners-up Alven Yulianto-Hendra Gunawan of Indonesia in the semi-finals.

Khim Wah was simply thrilled with their major breakthrough yesterday.

“This is the most memorable day for us. What a joy to win our first title although we have not trained as a doubles pair this year,” said Khim Wah in a telephone interview.

Last year, the duo’s five-month partnership saw them winning the National Grand Finals in November.

They however went separate ways after that with both given a new role to play in the national mixed doubles department.

“We knew the odds were against us in the final today. We did not combine well in the opening game because we had a lot of respect for Tan Fook-Wan Wah,” said the 20-year-old Khim Wah.

“But we became confident after taking the second game. They also made a lot of mistakes and looked unstable and we took advantage of that.”

Yesterday, the match between the two Malaysian pairs saw the inexperienced youngsters ironically making fewer errors than the veterans.

Being their first ever final, the youngsters took some time to get into the game and despite a good fight, they went down 20-22 in the opening game.

But once they got the momentum going, the duo combined well to outfox Tan Fook-Wan Wah with their clever play and stinging smashes.

Tan Fook and Wan Wah committed strings of unforced errors and in the decider, they just could not keep up with the pace of the energetic youngsters.

An elated 21-year-old Peng Soon said: “Our win today proved that we can also go far in the men’s doubles event. We are still young and can play in both the men’s doubles and mixed doubles.

“Khim Wah and I can work well together.

“This win here today has given us a lot of confidence to make it big in our badminton career,” added Peng Soon, who will be sharing the US$8,160 prize money with his partner.

The unseeded Peng Soon-Khim Wah’s famous win over the most senior pair in the Malaysian team yesterday certainly augurs well for the future of Malaysia’s men’s doubles department.

The meek defeat of Tan Fook-Wan Wah, who have left the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) last year to fend for themselves, however, have raised doubts over their hopes of doing well in their last world championships, which will be held in Hyderabad, India from Aug 10-16.

The duo will have to come out of this demoralising defeat if they harbour hopes of challenging the big guns at the world meet.

n Men’s singles: Nguyen Tien Minh (Vie) bt Boonsak Ponsana (Tha) 21-16, 21-13.

n Men’s doubles: Chan Peng Soon-Lim Khim Wah (Mas) bt Choong Tan Fook-Lee Wan Wah (Mas) 20-22, 21-14, 21-11.

n Women’s singles: Liu Jian (Chn) bt Wang Rong (Chn) 21-16, 21-18.

n Women’s doubles: Yang Wei-Zhang Jiewen (Chn) bt Gao Ling-Wei Yili (Chn) 22-24, 21-17, 21-15.

n Mixed doubles: A. Songphon-V. Kunchala (Tha) bt Sudket Prapakamol-T. Saralee (Tha) 11-21, 21-17, 21-14.

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