Record Open haul

JOHOR BARU: The national shuttlers swept four titles in an Open tournament for the first time at the Malaysian Open Grand Prix Gold at the Bandaraya Stadium here yesterday.

The fabulous victories came from world No. 1 Lee Chong Wei, Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong, Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying and Chin Eei Hui-Wong Pei Tty.

And each of them had a different significance for the victors.

For top seed Lee Chong Wei, it was all about conquering his fear of aggravating his shoulder injury en route to beating Sony Dwi Kuncoro of Indonesia 17-21, 21-8, 21-10 in 50 minutes in the men’s singles final.

The Malaysian was matched blow for blow in the opening game before the Indonesian, vying for a slot in the Thomas Cup squad, pulled away for a win.

But Chong Wei turned on his magic and changed the tempo and Sony eventually ran out of steam.

Chong Wei declared that he had found his touch again after winning his fourth consecutive GP Gold title.

“After the GP Gold and the India Open last week, I’m no longer worried about my shoulder. This is a positive sign before the Thomas Cup Finals and Olympic Games,” said Chong Wei.

”I haven’t played Sony for a while (the last meeting was his win over Sony at the 2010 Indonesian Open) and I wasn’t too familiar with his game. But after losing the first game, I was able to turn it on and even play some risky shots.”

Chong Wei was proud of his team-mates’ achievements yesterday.

“Yes, the field was weakened because many top players didn’t turn up but it’s still a noteworthy performance. Full credit to the winners.”

For defending champions Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong, a solid and convincing 21-15, 21-19 win over 2009 world junior champions Chooi Kah Ming-Ow Yao Han in a 33-minute final was a timely boost ahead of the Thomas Cup and Olympics.

Said Kien Keat: “To win a title after a year gives us a lot of confidence and hope although our opponents are ranked lower.

“The feeling of being a champion again has given us the desire to want more.

“Boon Heong and I still have a lot to improve before the Olympics and we will work on it.”

For mixed doubles speciallists Peng Soon-Liu Ying, it was a first for them when they defeated an inexperienced Fadhilah Irfan-Anggraini Weni of Indonesian 21-12, 21-14 in a lopsided mixed doubles final.

It was their third career title but their first triumph at home. Their previous two titles were at the 2010 Asian Badminton Championships and the Bitburger Open in Germany last year.

“This is a special moment for us because we finally won a title in front of our home fans. We came close last year but lost in the final,” said Peng Soon.

For veterans Chin Eei Hui-Wong Pei Tty, they will always remember their sensational 21-18, 21-18 win over Singapore’s Shinta Mulia Sari-Yao Lei in the women’s doubles final as it was their last home title together before they go their separate ways in a few months.

Malaysia have never won more than three titles in a tournament since their triple joy at the 2009 Super Series Masters Finals in Sabah.

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