BY RAJES PAUL KUALA LUMPUR: Shuttler Kuan Beng Hong is tired of being the second stringer in the national team. After four years in the national back-up team, the 21-year-old Beng Hong had even considered giving up badminton after failing to make the grade to the senior team. Now he has shelved plans to quit and is determined to make an impact in the back-to-back China and Singapore Opens to gain promotion to the elite squad. The six-star US$250,000 China Open starts next Wednesday and it will be followed with the five-star US$170,000 Singapore meet from Nov 15-21. The Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) are expected to name 13 players - nine men and four women - for the 2006 Gemilang Programme - and at the moment only the top three singles players - Wong Choong Hann, Lee Chong Wei and Mohd Hafiz Hashim - are assured of a place in the project. Out of the nine, five are expected to be singles players and Beng Hong, Yeoh Kay Bin, Lee Tsuen Seng and Mohd Roslin Hashim, will have to battle it out for the remaining slots. Kedah's Beng Hong, who is eyeing a place in the 2006 Programme, said his failure to win the Singapore Satellite in September against local boy Kendrick Lee was a big blow to his morale. â€œI was very down after the defeat. I had beaten Kay Bin in the semi-finals. Prior to the tournament, I was down with fever. In the final, I suffered a muscle tear but I played on. I came back and coach (Misbun Sidek) was very disappointed. I just felt my spirit was broken,â€ lamented Beng Hong. â€œAt my age, many other players are already winning titles. I competed in the same World Junior Championships with Chong Wei, Sony Dwi Kuncoro (Indonesia) and Lin Dan, Bao Chunlai (Chinese players) in 2000. I lost to Chunlai in the last 16. All four have made name for themselves and just look at me ? I am still in the back-up squad. â€œBut I do not want to end my career like this. I know I can still play good badminton. I have the speed and power but what I lack is the fitness and skill. â€œI have been working on my fitness and I am also learning to strategise my game. I will do my best in the coming China Open and try to get a place in the 2006 squad. If I can continue to do well in the next two years, I will be also fighting for a place to represent Malaysia in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games,â€ he said. Beng Hong faces a tough opener in the upcoming China Open. He has been drawn to play seventh seed Kenneth Jonassen of Denmark. â€œI met him in the Swiss Open in the second round this year and lost. It will be tough but I will try my best to turn the tables on him,â€ added the world number 62nd player. Besides Beng Hong, Malaysia will also be represented by Choong Hann, Chong Wei and Kay Bin in the China Open. The doubles players are the men's pair of Choong Tan Fook-Chew Choong Eng, Chan Chong Ming-Koo Kien Keat, Mohd Fairuzizuan Mohd Tazari-Lin Woon Fui, Ong Soon Hock-Tan Bin Shen and the women's pair of Chin Eei Hui-Wong Pei Tty. I hope Beng Hong wins Kenneth in the first round, he would most likely be promoted after the win. I have seen him play, he has got speed and power. I think he probably lacks tactical knowlege. Anyway good luck to him !!!