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Thread: Cheah Soon Kit
11-16-2007, 03:34 AM #1
Cheah Soon Kit
How shall I began about this doubles player?
He was the best men's doubles player Malaysia produced in the late 80s and 90s and for a long time no doubles players from malaysia could claim to be his replacement until maybe the emergence of KKK in TC 2004.
Cheah was definitely the star of the Thomas cup Finals in 1988 although Malaysia did not win the title.
In the semi final 2nd doubles game against Indonesia, Cheah, a youngster at 20 yeras of age, partnering the veteran Ong Beng Teong, supprised the Malaysian crowd and even Liem Swee King and Bobby Ertanto with his leaping and powerful smashes from the baseline. In a game that sent shock waves across Indonesia, Cheah displayed the style that the doubles game were to be played in the 90s by Rexy-Ricky, Tony Gunawan, and Candra Wijaya.
He was not just a powerful smasher, he had an array of shots from the baseline, he could drive, punch clear,cross court net shots fast drive, all he used to devastating effect in 1990 TC finals, 1992.
His best partnership, I believe, was with Soo Beng Kiang, in terms of overall technic ,compatibility, his power baseline game with Soo's quick and deft placement at the front.
It was this partnership that brought him Thomas cup winner honours in 1992, the World Cup in 92 and 94 and . Rexy-and Ricky was always under cheah and Soo's shadows before 1994.
But the early success had droused Cheah and Soo's play and it was not helped by Cheah's hot tempered nature both in Court and out of Court.
To compound things, Cheah and Soo had a fall out over a personal matter and they were concentrating in fighting each other than against their opponents.
Thus their partnership ended in 1995 and Cheah formed another successful partnership with Yap Kim Hock. But at 27, Cheah began to slow down, his smashes didn't pack the same sting as before and his movement not as dynamic as before. Still the pair was good and took the World grand Prix finals title in 1995.
But the tide has turned in so far as the matches against Rexy and Ricky was concerned. Rexy and Ricky had reached a high level of understanding, compatibility and above all and comradeship since 1992.
Cheah and yap lost the 1996 All England Finals and in what was the best doubles match of the 90s , the Atlanta Olympics Gold medal game. Both teams were equally matched in all technical departments, in attack, defence, counter attack. But it was the employment of the wrong strategy at the crucial moment of the 3rd set when Cheah -Yap were leading 12-10 that sealed their fate. At that moment Cheah and yap began to use the flick serve that surrendered the attack to Rexy and Ricky who were all fired up to attack.
Cheah begin to play passively and the Gold medal was lost.
More disappointment were to follow when Cheah and Yap lost the World Championship final in 1997 . They did well to dispose off Rexy and Ricky in the semis in staright set only to fall to a young pairing of Candra Wijaya and Sigit Budiarto when they couldnt kill the shuttle in the 2nd set at the score tied at 17-17.
At the Thomas cup finals 1998, Cheah-Yap defeated the world No. 2 Korean pair of Lee Dong Soo and Yoo YS. only to fall to their rival Rexy and Ricky again. Their consolation was the Japan Open 1998 beating Ha-Kim, Candra-Sigit and antonius - denny on the way to the title.
Unfortnately, Yap had to take early retirement due to shoulder injury that year.
At 30, Cheah showed he was still a force to be reckoned with when he partnered Choong Tan Fook (who gave him deference) and won the Dutch Open in 1998 by beating Rexy Ricky in straight sets en route to the finals. they also beat Tony- Candra in the semi-finals in the Taiwan open the same year
Then Yap had a change of mind and returned to the old partnership and won them the HK open in 1999 defeating Sigit-Halim in the finals.
But the partnership was too old , with Tony G-Candra W, Ha-Kim and YYS -Lee D S hitting their prime in mid 20s, and after the debacle of the Malaysian team in 2000 Thomas Cup final Cheah finally retired.
Now, he coaches the Malaysian women's doubles, wonder why he is not coaching the men's doubles instaed?
11-18-2007, 07:02 AM #2
But coaching the WD doesnt do justice to his skills. If he coached MD, I imagine he'll push them even harder than Rexy, being the hot tempered person he is. No matter how good Cheah was as a player, he and yapkh wil always be OG silver medalist only. Nothing beats hiring an Olympic champ like Rexy.
Btw, other than personality clash, what happened between him and Soo Beng Kiang? How did it got so bad they had to separate??
11-18-2007, 08:19 AM #3
boy... that story was so many years ago la.... more than a decade....
I heard that they were both chasing the same girl and soo beng kiang won that battle..haha...
Yeah... Cheah soon kit was the best back doubles player... his smashes were phenomenal at those times and his leaps just out of this world....
11-18-2007, 08:18 PM #4
11-19-2007, 12:10 AM #5
soon kit married a former ms malaysia right?
11-19-2007, 12:23 AM #6
Atlanta Olympic 1996
In the opening game, Subagja and Mainaky were overwhelmed by Cheah and Yap 15-5 as the Indonesian defense was not up to par.
In the second, the Indonesians raced to a 5-0 lead as they got both
attack and defense in gear. However, Cheah and Yap did not fold under the
pressure and fought back with their own stellar defending and smashing.
The Malaysians caught up to the Indonesians and even grabbed the lead at
12-11, as both sides put on stunning displays of smashing and defending.
The Indonesians then managed to put even more speed and power in their
attack to eke out a 15-13 win and pull even in the match.
The third game featured more displays of spectacular jumpsmashing and
smashblocking. The two pairs exchanged points and small leads, with
the Malaysians managing to seize the upper hand at 12-10.
Once again, Subagja and Mainaky caught up and passed the Malaysians
with powerful attacking play and spectacular defense. At match point,
Mainaky unloaded a powerful gold medal-winning smash that Cheah and Yap
were unable to return.
Men's Doubles - Finals (July 31, 1996)
MAINAKY, Rexy/SUBAGJA, Rexy (1) - Indonesia beat CHEAH Soon Kit/YAP Kim Hock (2) - Malaysia 5-15, 15-13, 15-12
11-19-2007, 04:13 AM #7
In the 2nd set at the Olympic finals, at one juncture, Cheah and yap returned about 10 smashes from Rexy and Ricky and then a net drop by yap maikng the indonesians lift the shuttle , instead of smashing down Cheah hit a cross court drive towrads rexy's face, it was so fast it hit Rexy.
A group of Americans gave our boys a standing ovation. I guess they could only savour that moment after having lost the Gold medal.
11-19-2007, 09:45 AM #8
Any video sharing for that match? It will be good to watch the match again. I watched it live 11 years ago. Time runs so fast. It's a very good match.
11-19-2007, 10:51 PM #9
11-20-2007, 03:27 AM #10
very very very useful link, thanks.
Are those videos all your collection sonnymak?
Was wondering should we Malaysian organize a meet up to share those video.
Everyone bring their laptop and lot'sa CDR.
11-20-2007, 04:04 AM #11
11-20-2007, 05:02 AM #12
You all should thank HorizonNL for uploading those priceless video for all of us.
Check out the Thomas Cup 1992 finals video in this forum and go thank IXORY fopr that.
Cheah and Soo was so good in the final 1992. Better than Fu- Cai of today and even KKK-TBH. Rexy and Ricky were good too and was at their top at the olympics 1996.
Given the fact that so many old pairs 0f 1998 -2004 season are still sitting in the top 8 of the doubles today, I dare say the young top 3 pairs today still cant match the top 3 pairs of 1994-1996.
11-20-2007, 05:27 AM #13
05-25-2008, 10:35 PM #14
05-26-2008, 08:50 AM #15
anyone know where is soo beng kiang now?
05-26-2008, 08:52 AM #16
After that, from late 80s the concentration is more on attacking play, and now with 21 pts system, high speed attack/drives and pressure.
05-26-2008, 09:13 AM #17
Maybe perhaps they are 'hungrier' than the latest lots. Now days some are already well off when they win a couple of tournaments with the amount of prize money won. Last time, the money is less.
Soon Kit smash is very 'kenchang'. I remember when he was 16 yrs old playing in a local tournament. I was sitting right infront of the court. He got a very2 powerful smash. He swipe opponents in about 5 minutes each game (15 points era). Happen many years before BAM beamed him up.
Last edited by extremenanopowe; 05-26-2008 at 09:23 AM.
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