TheStar Sept 21

THE second ranked national men's doubles combination of Chan Chong Ming-Koo Kien Keat are out of the World Championships in Madrid without even getting on court.

The unfortunate exit followed the demise of Chong Ming's father. And the pair had to concede a walkover to South Koreans Hwang Ji-man-Hang San-hoon in a second round match yesterday.

Chong Ming's father passed away at the University Hospital in Kuala Lumpur. He had been hospitalised for leukaemia and team manager Datuk Lim Teong Kiat said that they received the bad news at 9pm on Tuesday night (3am in Malaysia yesterday).

Chong Ming took a flight home via Amsterdam at 6am yesterday and he is expected to arrive at his family home in Kuala Selangor today.

“His father had been ill for quite some time and was hospitalised for the past two weeks. The tragic news came as a huge blow not just for Chong Ming also to everyone else in the Malaysian team here,” said Teong Kiat.

National chief coach Yap Kim Hock added that it was unfortunate for Chong Ming, who had looked forward to playing his first match in Madrid today.

“When we heard the bad news from Malaysia, the team officials left it entirely to Chong Ming to make a decision on the matter. We supported his decision to return home immediately as he wanted to be at the funeral, which is expected to be held in five days' time,” said Kim Hock.

“It was a double blow to Chong Ming to lose his father and also miss out on the chance to compete at the World Championships after all the hard work he has put in to prepare for the tournament.”

Chong Ming-Kien Keat are ranked fifth in the world and they were seen as a good bet to win the title. They were the semi-finalists at the championships in Anaheim last year.

This year, they won the gold medal at the Melbourne Commonwealth Games in March and also emerged as the champions in the Malaysian Open in June.

Kien Keat was disappointed that he saw no action in the men's doubles but he put up a brave front.

“It is very unfortunate and beyond our control. We have to accept fate and move on. I will now focus on doing well in the mixed doubles,” said Kien Keat, who partnered Wong Pei Tty for a second-round match against Singapore's Hendra Wijaya-Fan Frances Liu yesterday.

The withdrawal of Chong Ming-Kien Keat left Malaysia with two pairs in the fray – world number three Choong Tan Fook-Lee Wan Wah and Mohd Fairuzizuan Tazari-Lin Woon Fui.