PETALING JAYA: Kuan Beng Hong beat Mohd Hafiz Hashim for the first time in his career to emerge as the men’s singles champion in the Terengganu Open badminton championships yesterday.
Second-seeded Beng Hong’s 21-18, 21-17 win in the 30-minute final also prolonged Hafiz’s barren run in the National Circuit.
And Beng Hong’s victory, after going through a slump, has opened up his chance to be considered for international tournaments again.
Beng Hong had been dropped from the selection of the team for next week’s Vietnam Open due to poor form.
Now, Hendrawan will recommend that the shuttler be included in the squad for the two Super Series in Asia – China and Hong Kong – in November.
Beng Hong is thrilled with his breakthrough.
“It is only a local tournament but I am happy because I have beaten Hafiz for the first time. I have tried in vain many times to pull the rug from under him,” said Beng Hong.
“I had a good preparation and did my homework in reading his game. I played a patient game and managed to rattle him.
“Hopefully, things will only get better for me from now on. The next major tournament for me is the Laos SEA Games and I really hope the team will return home with the gold medal.”
Beng Hong was in the men’s team that won a gold at the 2005 Manila SEA Games and he also represented the country when they lost in the semi-finals in Korat two years ago.
Hafiz did not take his defeat too badly.
“It is unfortunate that I failed again in my attempt to win my first title in the National Circuit. I reached the final in Penang in 2006 but lost to my brother (Roslin),” said Hafiz.
“I wish I was fitter but a lack of preparation coming into this tournament because of my illness did not help my cause. But what is more important is to get my game going in the international tournaments,” added Hafiz, who will now get ready for the Denmark Open from Oct 20-25.
Hendrawan said the win was good for Beng Hong’s morale.
“Beng Hong played well and was in control of the game. Hafiz was obviously troubled by his lack of fitness. The win should give Beng Hong a timely boost. He has justified his selection into the SEA Games squad (in Laos in December),” said Hendrawan.
“It is good that these two seasoned campaigners are showing more hunger in their game. The back-up shuttlers must do even better to catch up with them.”
Things also went according to plan in the other Division One events, with all the seniors sealing victories.
The winners yesterday were Chan Chong Ming-Chew Choon Eng (men’s doubles), Lydia Cheah (women’s singles), Chin Eei Hui-Wong Pei Tty (women’s doubles) and Mohd Fairuzizuan Mohd Tazari-Pei Tty (mixed doubles).