Star Online 31 Jan 2004 Misbun names Beng Hong, drops Hafiz and Tsuen Seng By RAJES PAUL KUALA LUMPUR: All-England champion Mohd Hafiz Hashim was ruled out. No surprise. Then, the jaws dropped. National singles chief coach Misbun Sidek, in a totally unexpected move, named youngster Kuan Beng Hong yesterday for the Thomas Cup qualifying tournament – over fourth-ranked Lee Tsuen Seng and Yeoh Kay Bin. That was about the only shock when Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) named their 10-man and 10-woman team for the Thomas and Uber Cup Asian qualifiers from Feb 16-22 at the Kuala Lumpur Badminton Stadium. But it was a shock not only to the media at the press conference yesterday but also to Beng Hong himself. Kuan Beng Hong “Are you sure??” asked a dazed Beng Hong, who will celebrate his 21st birthday on Feb 9. “I just woke up (at 6pm) and wanted to go for my meal. This news has certainly caught me by surprise. I cannot believe this. “Really, this (his selection) means a lot to me. My coach showed that he has faith in me and I will be out to live up to his expectation. He can expect only the best for me and I will use this opportunity to move up in my badminton career,” added Beng Hong, who has yet to win a single title in his four-year career with the national team. The other singles players named in the men's squad yesterday were Wong Choong Hann, Lee Chong Wei and Mohd Roslin Hashim. The doubles players were a foregone conclusion with Choong Tan Fook-Lee Wan Wah, Koo Kien Keat-Gan Teik Chai and Chang Kim Wai-Chew Choon Eng. Misbun said that the time was right for the 21-year-old back-up Beng Hong from Kedah to be exposed in big tournaments. “I dare to take a gamble on Beng Hong. He has showed good progress in training and tournaments. Chong Wei did well last year and now I have the confidence in Beng Hong,” he said. Still, Misbun's decision come as a slap in the face of seniors Tsuen Seng, Kay Bin and Hafiz, who were reminded that experience, seniority and past records do not guarantee them places in the squad. “They (Hafiz, Tsuen Seng and Kay Bin) should realise why they were not considered. They should upgrade their performances,” he said. The 22-year-old Hafiz has been out of international tournaments for the last three months with a wrist injury. He has only just recovered. Former Dutch champion Tsuen Seng is struggling to find his footing in international tournaments while National GP Finals runner-up Kay Bin has wasted many opportunities by “freezing” in international tournaments. “Hafiz may have recovered but he is not ready yet. I hope all three players (Hafiz, Tsuen Seng and Kay Bin) will rebound to fight for places for the Thomas Cup Finals (from May 17-23 in Jakarta).” Meanwhile, the BAM also opted to give several youngsters the break by naming four Bukit Jalil Sports School (BJSS) players for the Uber Cup team. The women's team sees sisters Mew Choo and Miew Kheng, Woon Sze Mei, Norsyahliza Baharum, Julia Wong in the singles and Chin Eei Hui-Wong Pei Tty, Ooi Sock Ai-Mooi Hing Yau, Fong Chew Yen in the doubles. Norsyahliza, Julia, Sock Ai-Hing Yau are all from BJSS.