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01-04-2007, 07:41 AM #1
Chong Ming looks forward to fruitful partnership with Hoon
PETALING JAYA: He may have bagged a title in his first attempt with a new partner – but seasoned doubles player Chan Chong Ming is keeping his feet firmly on the ground.
Chong Ming and Hoon Thien How clinched their first victory when they beat national champions Mohd Fairuzizuan Mohd Tazari-Lin Woon Fui in straight games in the KL Open final last month.
Chong Ming, however, believes the real test will come when they start competing at international level, beginning with the Malaysian Super Series in Kuala Lumpur from Jan 15-21.
“Winning the KL Open is a good start to our partnership. But this is just the local circuit and most of the top players may not be at their best, having just returned from the Asian Games,” said Chong Ming, who said their immediate priority would be to qualify for the World Championships in Malaysia later this year.
The qualification process has already started and the Malaysian pair need to put in a lot of work to make the cut.
Most of the major Opens have been incorporated into the Badminton Super Series, which kicks off this year with 12 legs. The main draw for the singles and doubles will only comprise players in the top 32 of the world rankings list.
Chong Ming and Thien How are currently unranked and unlike the other new pairing of Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong, who captured the Asian Games doubles title in Doha recently, have not even competed at international level.
“The Malaysian Super Series will be our first international event but we have to play in the qualifying round because of our current position. We do not have any ranking points. Only four pairs get to qualify for the main draw, so we have to fight hard.
“Our hope is to do well in the first few tournaments and see how it goes from there,” said Chong Ming, who partnered Kien Keat to win the Malaysian Open last year.
Chong Ming’s two-year-old partnership with Kien Keat came to an end when he was left out of the Asian Games squad due to a loss in form.
Doubles coach Rexy Mainaky then paired Kien Keat with Boon Heong and the gamble paid off when the pair ended a 36-year wait for an Asian Games gold medal in Doha.
Although disappointed at first at having to start all over again with a new partner, Chong Ming has now come to terms with the decision.
“Besides the World Championships, I hope to qualify for the Olympics for the second time with my new partner. “My focus now is to improve on our combination,” said the 27-year-old Chong Ming.
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