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    Post Flandi-Eng Hian aim to do well in KL to seal ticket to Anaheim

    KUALA LUMPUR: A place in the World Championships is at stake for the Indonesian pair of Flandi Limpele-Eng Hian in the Malaysian Open badminton championships, which begin here today.

    The Athens Olympics bronze medallists are among four Indonesian pairs who have qualified for the world meet. But Indonesia can only have three pairs in the championships, which will be played in Anaheim, California, from Aug 15-21.

    The other three Indonesian pairs who have qualified are world number two Luluk Hadiyanto-Alven Yulianto, Candra Wijaya-Sigit Budiaro (fourth) and Markis Kidho-Hendra Setiawan (ninth).

    “We are now ranked at number 16. Our rankings dropped because Flandi and I were down with injuries at different times over the last one year,” said the 28-year-old Eng Hian, who teamed up with the 31-year-old Flandi in 1998.

    “The Malaysian Open will be our fifth international tournament this year. It is an important tournament for us. If we do well, we will be considered for the world meet.”

    At the preceding Singapore Open, Flandi-Eng Hian were beaten by eventual champions Candra-Sigit in the quarter-finals.

    Flandi-Eng Hian will be looking at playing in the world championships for the third time after having featured in the 1999 and 2001 series in Copenhagen and Seville respectively. All entries for the world championships will have to be finalised on July 11.

    In the Malaysian Open, Flandi-Eng Hian will open their campaign today against defending champions Choong Tan Fook-Lee Wan Wah.

    Eng Hian, who hails from Solo in Central Jawa, is looking forward to a win over the veteran Malaysian pair for the first time in two years.

    “We lost to them in all three matches in 2003. Wan Wah is coming back from a long break. We have an advantage to get the better of them this time,” he said.

    For Tan Fook-Wan Wah, the Singapore Open last week was their first international tournament since the Athens Games. They were beaten 10-15, 15-10, 9-15 by Chinese Fu Haifeng-Cai Yun in the first round.

    LOOKING AHEAD: Indonesian doubles coach Harry Ip stands between his charges Eng Hian (left) and Flandi Limpele during a break in training yesterday. The duo hope to do well in the Malaysian Open so that they will be considered for next month’s World Championships.
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