K. M. Boopathy
ROSLIN Hashim's aim of making his final appearance in the Doha Asian Games has been dashed by a recurrence of an elbow injury.
Roslin, 30, who suffered the injury in the Denmark Open two weeks ago, failed to recover and gave up his battle three days ago.
Roslin is currently on a three-month club attachment with Vensyssyl Badminton Club in Denmark and is likely to return only next month.
His replacement is another veteran, Wong Choong Hann, who appeared to be out of the race after rupturing his achilles tendon in the Thomas Cup Finals in May.
Choong Hann, 29, was only expected to start competing in tournaments in January but recovered fast and competed in the Denmark and Dutch Opens over the past two weeks.
Although the decision to include Choong Hann was made by the BA of Malaysia (BAM) on Thursday, there was uncertainty whether the change will be accepted by the Doha Asian Games Organising committee and Badminton Asian Confederation.
Chief coach Yap Kim Hock said both parties have already accepted the change and said Choong Hann is an able replacement for Roslin, especially in the team event where Malaysia have targeted a silver medal.
"Kuan Beng Hong is the obvious choice for the third singles slot now while Choong Hann will be the reserve. But changes could take place based on the opposition we will face."
Kim Hock also said Choong Hann's versatility was the other advantage but already short on quality match practice, Choong Han will be utilised only in the team event.
Choong Hann, who was the reserve in the 1998 Games squad, could not believe his luck and has vowed to help the team reach the final in Doha.
Malaysia are likely to be seeded in the top four, and they will have a chance of reaching the final if they can avoid meeting favourites China in the last four.
Lee Chong Wei will lead the charge in the team event while Hafiz Hashim will fill the second singles slot.
Based on experience, the coaches are certain to opt for Choong Hann as the third singles.
The two doubles pairs are Lin Woon Fui-Fairuzizuan Tazari and Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong.
Meanwhile, there was encouragement for Asian Games-bound Julia Wong and Norsyahliza Baharum who did well in the Sri Lanka Satellite on Nov 8-12.
Julia, after having finished runner-up in the four-star Philippines Open, Surabaya and Singapore championships, finally clinched her first title after winning the Sri Lankan championship
Norsyahliza, playing in her first tournament in almost five months due to a knee injury, reached the semi-finals where she lost to Julia.
Julia will be playing in the womens team and singles events while Norsyahliza is down for the team event in Doha. (source: nst.com.my)