New Straits Times » Sport Badminton/Malaysian Open Review: Chong Wei stirring still waters in fraternity K.M. Boopathy Sept 09: HE came, he saw and he went where many Malaysians had failed to go. But Lee Chong Wei, despite being denied the Malaysian Open title, managed to outshine his seniors to give the national team an option for the future. Chong Wei, 21, came into the tournament as a rank outsider but possessed the fighting spirit and a thinking game, which draws the line between a champion and the challengers. Chong Wei might have lost the final to World No 1 China’s Chen Hong but the Malaysian showed true grit and possessed special qualities to beat the best. His deceptive net flicks and delaying shots were phenomenal, something even the great Chen Hong had acknowledged while several big names fell prey to. Among them were senior shuttler Roslin Hashim, Chinese No 3 Bao Chunlai and World No 4 Lee Hyun Il of South Korea who could not stop Chong Wei's fairytale run in the tournament. The fact that this is the first time Chong Wei got past the third round in his international career is an impressive record and that too with a tournament which boasts with the world's elite players. Having tasted the top level performance, Chong Wei should make use of the Malaysian Open as a stepping stone and look forward to further success in the international field. As national coach Misbun Sidek stressed, the defeat is a blessing in disguise as he does not want Chong Wei to go through Hafiz Hashim's struggle. Hafiz has not advanced past the third round since winning the All-England championships in February. "He gave his best and so did the other back-up shuttlers. There is no shame in losing to the World No 1 who was in majestic form," said Misbun. "Chong Wei has a long way to go and he will start winning soon. This (Malaysian Open title) could have been an overnight success and Chong Wei does not have to be in Hafiz's shoes." Yeoh Kay Bin and Kuan Beng Hong also showed marked improvements in the tournament and with more diligence in training, they are capable of holding their own against the top shuttlers. Kay Bin reached the quarter-finals and even took a game off Chen Hong but aggression and experience are what he needs to be a better player. Despite making the semi-final, Wong Choon Hann's shaky performance is an indication that he has not recovered completely from the euphoria of reaching the world championships for the first time in Birmingham last month and needs to work on his fitness and endurance. Hafiz was easily beaten by Choon Hann and the worst performer was probably Lee Tsuen Seng whose bad match temperament and lack of fitness made him suffer a first round embarrassment against unheralded Indonesian junior Simon Santoso. Hafiz and Tsuen Seng should take Chong Wei as an example despite the runner-up being treated twice in the tournament for dehydration, but had the mental strength to go all the way to the final. However, troubles are not over in the doubles as Choong Tan Fook, despite reaching his third consecutive semi-final with partner Lee Wan Wah, suffered a minor knee injury again while the Chan Chong Ming-Chew Choon Eng withdrew from the competition. Chan was down with food poisoning but that is not major worry. What Chong Ming-Choon Eng lack is a positive attitude and a good result in their next tournament, the Danish Open in three weeks time, will help. As for Tan Fook-Wan Wah, they should raise their fitness level as this the only way to avoid injuries. Tan Fook-Wan Wah are almost to their best but with superior fitness condition, they should start winning titles soon.