Kota Kinabalu: In the end, the right men won. And they ended their year on a high note.
Former world junior champion Mak Hee Chun who was dropped from Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) in 2012, teamed with Tan Bin Shen who left the national team in 2010, as they defied all odds to triumph over top seeds Lim Khim Wah-Ow Yao Han in the men’s doubles final of Sabah Open on Sunday. Mak-Tan won the intense battle 16-21,21-19,21-16 in 58 minutes.
Mak-Tan gave the audience a shock on Friday when they trounced second seeds Low Juan Shen-Ong Yew Sin 21-14, 21-13 in 25 minutes, and crashed BAM’s party again in style with another upset against fourth seeds Tan Wee Gieen-Teo Ee Yi of BAM 21-12, 15-21, 22-20 in the semi-final on Saturday.
In men’s singles, Goh Soon Huat gained revenge for Korean Open Grand Prix defeat as the 24-year-old Malaccan saw off his BAM team-mate Iskandar Zulkarnian Zainuddin in straight sets 21-16, 21-15 in the final.
“I’m excited to win the Sabah Open. I am also hoping for a good showing at Malaysian Masters (Malaysian Open GPG) in January 2015, so that I could start collecting qualifying points for the 2016 Olympics,” said Soon Huat.
Unseeded Lydia Cheah who left BAM in 2013 also provided another fairytale ending when she fought back from a set down to beat the younger second seed Yang Li Lian 11-21, 21-18, 23-21 to take the women’s singles title.
The women’s doubles was just as excited as other finals when another unseeded pair Chow Mei Kuan-Lee Meng Yean knocked out top seeds Amelia Alicia Anscelly-Soong Fie Cho 21-19, 21-17 in 40 minutes.
Second seeds Tan Aik Quan-Lai Pei Jing were able to dispatch fourth seeds Tan Chee Tean-Shevon Lai Jemie 27-25,21-16 in the mixed doubles final.
People made mistakes when they were young, guys mature and develop at different rates. Undoubtedly, Mak-Tan still have a lot to prove as they need to perform consistently at the higher level of badminton. Nonetheless, by winning the Sabah Open title, hopefully doors once shut on them could be reopened because Mak-Tan definitely deserved a second chance.