In today's Star, Malaysian newspaper online:


PETALING JAYA: National discard Sairul Amar Ayob continued with his good run in lower grade international tournaments – bagging the Equinox New Zealand Open men's singles title last Sunday.*

Sairul, who plays for Kuala Lumpur Racquet Club, defeated Hong Kong's Chan Yan Kit 15-8, 17-16 in the final.*

Last year, Sairul emerged as the champion in the Western Australian International, Auckland International and Carlton Ballarat International.*

National chief coach Yap Kim Hock said yesterday that the door was always open to non-BAM players to fight for places in the team for major tournaments, including the SEA Games and Thomas Cup Finals.*

“If they do well, we will consider them for selection,” he said.*

“We have already selected M. Sutheaswari for the Manila SEA Games (Nov 27-Dec 5). *

“She is not in the national team but she is the current national number one. She has also won a title (Western Australia International in August).*

“Competition in the men's team is much, much greater and Sairul has to prove himself.”*

Sairul is now ranked 16th in the world – the fifth ranked Malaysian after Lee Chong Wei, Mohd Hafiz Hashim, Wong Choong Hann and Kuan Beng Hong.*

His best in major international Opens is two quarter-final appearances in the 2004 Korean Open and 2005 Swiss Open.*