At long last our best local lad, Kendrick Lee, has captured his first international title after beating 2 Chinese, 2 Thais and 1 HongKong player. He got his inspiration from Ronald Susilo, who beat Bao Chunlai at the Japan Open. The Straits Times MAY 7, 2004 Kendrick wins first international title By Peh Shing Huei AS THE newly-crowned champion put it, finally, he won something. So too, in a sense, did Singapore when Kendrick Lee continued to break new ground for local badminton when he became the first Singapore-born player to win an international title in 21 years. Lee, who scored a first as well two years ago when he finished runner-up in the World Junior Championships, beat China's You Hao 15-9, 15-7 to win the Thailand Asian Satellite title yesterday. The Thai crown may be comparatively minor compared to the last one by a Singapore-born shuttler - the South-east Asia Games singles title by Wong Shoon Keat in 1983. But try telling that to an ecstatic Lee, who told Timesport in a telephone interview yesterday: 'Finally, I've won something.' And who was his inspiration? Indonesia-born Singaporean Ronald Susilo, naturally, who together with top new citizens like China-born Li Li and Jiang Yanmei have blazed the trail by winning internationally before Lee. As the 19-year-old girded himself to face You Hao, one of China's young second-stringers, he remembered Susilo's victory over China's Bao Chunlai at last month's Japan Open final. 'I was thinking, maybe, I can do the same,' he said, 'maybe, another Singaporean can beat a Chinese.' Up till then, just like Susilo, the formidable Chinese were his bogeymen. Though he beat one of them, Xuan Chuan, 15-7, 15-10 in the second round, memories of his loss to Chen Jin in the World Junior final two years ago haunted him. He admitted: 'I've always had this mental block against the Chinese. I lost to Chen Jin three times and they always seem to get the better of me.' Not this time. He raced to a 12-4 lead in the first game and though You Hao recovered to 8-12, Lee kept his composure and took the game 15-9. And You Hao could not stop the former Catholic High boy's momentum. Lee took a 10-5 lead in the second game and quickly wrapped up the match 15-7. 'At the World Juniors, I was over-excited by the time I entered the final,' said the national serviceman. 'This time, I kept my cool and focused until the last point. 'With this win, it's a mini-breakthrough for me.' While the title is not as prestigious as Open tournaments, which offer more prize money and world ranking points, the Singapore badminton fraternity is still thrilled by his achievement. Said Wong, who was Lee's first coach when he was seven: 'It is a fantastic achievement. 'At least we have some local boys coming through, and I'm sure this will encourage the local kids. 'Now, I hope he goes on to be as good as Ronald.' Added Singapore Badminton Association secretary-general Steven Yeo: 'After 21 years, someone has done it. It's outstanding. 'He works really hard, has great talent, remains very focused and has really supportive parents. 'It just says that with the right support, local-born shuttlers can do as well.' As a start too, Singapore will have 3 shuttlers participating in the Olympics, one in the MS and two in the WS.