KUALA LUMPUR: Coach Li Mao has weaved his magic once again – this time with former international Chan Kwong Beng.
Yesterday, the 24-year-old Kwong Beng, who trains under Li Mao at the Kawasaki Badminton Club in Petaling Jaya, achieved a breakthrough when he reached his first ever men’s singles final at the Ciputra Vietnam International Challenge in Hanoi yesterday.
Kwong Beng defeated Pannawit Thongnuam of Thailand 21-18, 21-14 in the semi-finals to emerge as the only Malaysian survivor in the satellite tournament.
National back-up player Loh Wei Sheng had failed to make it an all-Malaysian final when he went down to Ng Ka Long of Hong Kong 21-10, 21-15.
Earlier in the tournament, a total of 18 other Malaysian singles players had crashed out in the early rounds.
The positive showing from Kwong Beng proved that his decision to turn professional in January this year was a wise one indeed.
He ended his 11-year tenure with Badmin-ton Association of Malaysia (BAM) after his failure to attain any outstanding achievements.
In fact, his best showing was a semi-final finish at last year’s Malaysia International Challenge.
Kwong Beng, who had been training under Li Mao for the last two months, will be out for a revenge against Ka Long today. He lost to Ka Long in the first round of the Vietnam Grand Prix Gold meet last year.
Li Mao was Malaysia’s former national singles coach. Under him, the current world No. 1 Lee Chong Wei enjoyed many breakthroughs, including beating Chinese players in convincing fashions.