By RAJES PAUL
KUALA TERENGGANU: Lee Chong Wei is still the nations best player.
The 25-year-old proved it at the Proton National Grand Prix Finals at the Kuala Terengganu Indoor Stadium here yesterday by beating Mohd Hafiz Hashim 21-14, 21-15 for his fifth consecutive title in the championships.
Chong Wei, who has not been beaten in local tournaments since winning the 2002 National GP Finals, was ecstatic after the win and hoped that the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) would give him permission to skip the local circuit this year.
Hafiz should be credited for putting up a fight despite his ankle injury. He was certainly slower than in our previous match in the Kuala Lumpur Open, said Chong Wei, who took home RM7,000.
Now I hope I can take a break from the local circuit. It will be very hectic and I hope the BAM will give me the permission, he said.
After winning his first title for the year, Chong Wei said he hoped to achieve similiar success at international level starting with the All-England from March 6-11.
I could have done better in the Opens in Malaysia and South Korea last month. Now, I feel confident and I am determined to get my hands on the first international title of the year, he said.
Hafiz was disappointed and said: I tried to keep pace with him but at the same time I was trying to be cautious. But this performance has given me confidence ahead of the All-England.
In the womens singles, Wong Mew Choo won her fourth national title with a 21-12, 21-13 win over Lydia Cheah, whose attacking game was sadly littered with mistakes. Mew Choo picked up RM4,000.
Im happy to win the national title again after being injured the last two years. Hopefully, I will be excused from some of the local tournaments this year, said Mew Choo.
In the mens doubles, Asian Games champions and Malaysian Open winners Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong justified their number one status in the country when they tamed Tan Bin Shen-Ong Soon Hock 21-12, 21-15 in just 28 minutes. The title was worth RM11,000.
The only upset of the day was created by Julia Wong-Haw Chiou Hwee in the womens doubles. The Project 2010-12 squad shuttlers upset national players Fong Chew Yen-See Phui Leng 21-16, 25-23.
(source: The Star Online)