PETALING JAYA: The writing is on the wall for shuttler Kuan Beng Hong. His days in the national team are numbered after failing to make the main draw of the Swiss Open in Basel on Tuesday.
Beng Hong started with a 21-19, 21-10 win over France’s Mathieu Lo but stumbled to an 11-21, 21-14, 15-21 defeat by Lithuania’s Kestutis Navickas in the final qualifying match. He also failed to make the grade from the All-England qualifying tournament last week, losing to Anup Sridhar of India.
And his latest performance against Navickas, who is the only badminton player from his country registered with the Badminton World Federation, has not gone down well with singles coach Misbun Sidek.
“Beng Hong was not feeling well at the All-England but that was a week ago. It is a disappointing show from him when I expected him to do better than this,” said Misbun.
“The problem with him is his difficulty to achieve a breakthrough since playing in the Thomas Cup Finals three years ago. He does not know how to pace himself.”
Beng Hong has been given two chances more to prove his worth — in the Indian Open from March 24-29 and the Asian Championships in South Korea from April 7-12.
“There will be no more chance for him if he fails to show progress because it will be hard for me to recommend that he keeps his place in the team,” said Misbun.
Beng Hong has been with the BAM for almost a decade and his best achievements include two runner-up finishes at the 2004 Taiwan Open and 2005 Asian Championships.
Beng Hong, who came into the national squad at the same time as Lee Chong Wei, was seen as a shining star but faded after failing miserably to prevent Malaysia from losing their Thomas Cup semi-final tie against Denmark in Japan in 2006.
In the Swiss Open yesterday, there was a bright spark for Malaysia in the opening round action of the tournament proper.
The mixed doubles pair of Mohd Fairuzizuan Mohd Tazari-Wong Pei Tty overcame the Indonesian-Russian combination of Flandy Limpele-Anastasia Russkikh 21-17, 21-13 to advance to the second round. Limpele-Russkikh were the All-England semi-finalists.
Fairuzizuan-Pei Tty, who were promoted to the main draw after the withdrawal of Poland’s Robert Mateusiak-Nadiezda Kostiuczyk, will play against Taiwanese Hsieh Yu-hsin-Chien Yu-chin today for a place in the quarter-finals.
However, the other Malaysian mixed pair, Koo Kien Keat-Ng Hui Lin, bowed out to a 23-25, 15-21 defeat by fifth seeded Danes Thomas Laybourn-Kamilla Rytter Juhl.