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01-31-2004, 03:17 AM #1
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Misbun names Beng Hong, drops Hafiz and Tsuen Seng
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.
02-06-2004, 05:36 PM #2
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- Santa Clara, California, United States
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NEWS : Beng Hong surprise for Thomas Cup
New Straits Times » Sport
Badminton: Beng Hong surprise for Thomas Cup
K. M. Boopathy
THE inclusion of back-up player Kuan Beng Hong in the Thomas Cup squad for the Asian zone qualifying round in Kuala Lumpur on Feb 16-22 was a wake-up call for several senior players who have not been performing up to the mark.
National coach Misbun Sidek left out experienced Hafiz Hashim, Lee Tsuen Seng and Yeoh Kay Bin to include Beng Hong, even though it will be the first time the 22-year-old shuttler will be joining the senior team.
Wong Choong Hann, Roslin Hashim and Lee Chong Wei confirmed their status as the top three singles while doubles coach Yap Kim Hock did not serve up any surprises when he named Choong Tan Fook-Lee Wan Wah, Gan Teik Chai-Koo Kien Keat and Chew Choon Eng-Chang Kim Wai as predicted.
Hafiz’s exclusion was not a surprise as he has just recovered from a wrist injury suffered last November, while Tsuen Seng’s performance has taken a nosedive throughout last year.
Misbun said he is ready to take a gamble by fielding Beng Hong, rather than depend too much on other shuttlers, as Beng Hong has shown marked improvement in training and tournaments.
"Beng Hong may be new to the Thomas Cup, but I’m confident he can live up to expectations. I would rather select an untested but positive player than depend on more senior shuttlers who are not up to the mark," said Misbun at the Juara Stadium yesterday.
"Hafiz is still not ready while Beng Hong has proved to be more aggressive compared to other players.
"We need Roslin in the line-up so that Chong Wei can play as the third singles to give us a tactical advantage. Choong Hann should give us the edge as the first singles while Chong Wei will be one of the strongest third singles players in the competition.
"Despite a couple of new faces, we are confident of qualifying for the final round and there is a good chance of finishing among the top three."
While Misbun is ready to gamble on young players, Kim Hock does not have much choice.
Tan Fook-Wan Wah, ranked World No 6, are the most consistent pair on the international circuit and will feature as the first doubles while Teik Chai-Kien Keat are the second ranked pair.
Kien Keat will be making his debut but he has been competing in the international grand prix circuit with Teik Chai for more than a year.
Choon Eng and Kim Wai have played in the Thomas Cup with different partners and would be useful if the inexperienced Teik Chai-Kien Keat succumb to pressure.
China, South Korea, Malaysia, Thailand and Hong Kong are expected to clinch the five qualifying spots in the Thomas Cup final round in May.
Four national junior players — Norsyahliza Baharom, Julia Wong and doubles pair Ooi Sock Ai-Mooi Hing Yau — were included in the Uber Cup squad who will be aiming to qualify for the final round for the first time.
Sea Games champion Wong Mew Choo, Wong Miew Kheng, Woon Sze Mei, Fong Chew Yen and doubles pair Chin Eei Hui-Wong Pei Tty were included as expected.
Norhashikin Amin, one of the most experienced players in the national squad, was dropped due to injury and her place was offered to Julia. Thomas Cup squad: Wong Choong Hann, Roslin Hashim, Lee Chong Wei, Kuan Beng Hong, Choong Tan Fook, Lee Wan Wah, Gan Teik Chai, Koo Kien Keat, Chew Choon Eng, Chang Kim Wai. Uber Cup squad: Wong Mew Choo, Wong Miew Kheng, Woon Sze Mei, Julia Wong, Chin Eei Hui, Wong Pei Tty, Fong Chew Yen, Ooi Sock Ai, Mooi Hing Yau.
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