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04-17-2004, 11:58 PM #1
Malaysian Thomas/Uber Squad to Indonesia
The Malaysian Team
04-17-2004, 11:59 PM #2
The young guns take up Thomas Cup challenge
KUALA LUMPUR: Singles shuttler Lee Chong Wei and doubles player Koo Kien Keat are only just making their debut in the Thomas Cup Finals. But they could become Malaysia's secret weapons in the prestigious world team event from May 7-16 in Jakarta.
The 22-year-old Chong Wei, who may play as the third singles, has been named alongside seasoned campaigners Wong Choong Hann, Lee Tsuen Seng and the Hashim brothers Roslin and Hafiz.
The Malaysian Squad to Jakarta.
And the crafty Penangite has vowed to make it a golden debut.
“It is great to finally be in the Thomas Cup Finals squad. I am looking forward to the competition and will certainly be out to play my best for the country,” said Chong Wei.
“I played in the Asian Zone qualifier and it was a good experience. Then, I was not able to win an important point for Malaysia but I will be out to get it right in the Finals, “ said Chong Wei, who lost to Lin Dan of China in the second singles. Malaysia eventually lost the final 2-3.
While Chong Wei aims to shine in his first Finals, youngster Koo Kien Keat also hopes to play his card right in the doubles.
The 18-year-old Kien Keat has been selected alongside the experienced Choong Tan Fook-Lee Wan Wah and Chan Chong Ming-Chew Choon Eng.
But with Chong Ming struggling to hit top form following a shoulder injury, Kien Keat is expected to partner Choon Eng as the second doubles pair.
And Kien Keat, who has been named because he is a versatile player, is getting ready for the challenge.
“I am happy I made it into the team. I must repay the coaches’ faith with good performances. I failed to win any matches in the Asian Zone qualifier (in February) but I will be out to put up a strong performance if I am fielded,” said Kien Keat, whose regular partner is Gan Teik Chai.
“I played with Chong Ming in the Swiss Open but we lost in the opening round. I will not play with my regular partner in the Finals but I do not see it as a big problem. I am now training regularly with Choon Eng,” he added.
Yesterday, the duo (Kien Keat-Choon Eng) gave a good fight before going down to Tan Fook-Wan Wah in a training session at the KLBA.
Unlike the men's squad, the majority of the players in the Uber Cup squad are first-timers.
Except for singles player Woon Sze Mei and doubles player Wong Pei Tty, the others will be playing in the Finals for the very first time.
Singles players Anita Raj Kaur and K. Sugita, who did not even feature in the Asian Zone qualifying tournament in February, are all excited.
The 18-year-old Anita from Kuala Lumpur scored 6As in her Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) after giving less concentration in badminton last year. But she is back with a vengeance. “I got a place in the national back-up team (as a probationer) this year. And now I am in the team for the Finals. I hope I can deliver.”
The 21-year-old Sugita, who has been in the national team since 2001, was surprised over her call-up and said: “The chances of me playing are slim. But if I given the opportunity, I will go all out.”
Besides Anita and Sugita, the others who will be making their debut are Vietnam SEA Games champion Wong Mew Choo, Norsyahliza Baharum from the Bukit Jalil Sports School (BJSS) and doubles players Chin Eei Hui, Fong Chew Yen and the BJSS students Ooi Sock Ai-Mooi Hing Yau.
For the record, the women's team are competing in the Finals for the first time by merit.
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