Kuala Lumpur: Does any of these names ring a bell for you? James Chua (men’s singles), Woon Sze Mei (women’s singles), Pang Cheh Chang/Cheah Soon Thoe (men’s doubles), Norhasikin Amin/Joanne Quay (women’s doubles), Pang Cheh Chang/Norhasikin Amin (mixed doubles). These were players who helped Malaysia swept all five titles at the Malaysian International in 1998.
After 20 years, Malaysia’s hopes of emulating the last clean sweep in 1998 fell short as its shuttlers only picked up two of the five titles at the Celcom Axiata Malaysia International Challenge finals on Sunday.
In-spite of that, those shuttlers deserved kudos for showing commitment, enthusiasm and competitive spirits en-routing to the finals.
On Sunday, top seeds Soong Fie Cho/Tee Jing Yi of Malaysia eased past teammates Lim Chie Sien/Tan Sueh Jeou in two sets 21-13, 21-10 to clinch their first women’s doubles title of the season in just 33 minutes.
“We’re excited for the victory. We train together with Lim/Tan, therefore we are familiar with their playing styles,” said Tee.
After losing her first set 10-21, former world junior runner-up Lee Ying Ying showed her resilience in the women’s singles finals, when she saved two match points, rallying from 18-20 to take the second set 24-22. However, some uncharacteristic errors caused her title dream to slip away by losing to China’s Wang Zhiyi 14-21 in the decider.
“I gave it my best shot in the final, but it’s really unfortunate,” said Lee.
Tan Jia Wei also failed to thrill the home crowd as he went down to Taiwan’s Hsueh Hsuan Yi 18-21, 19-21 in the men’s singles final.
The men’s doubles final, Malaysia’s Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik produce fearless badminton against former World Champion Mohammad Ahsan/Hendra Setiawan of Indonesia. The young Malaysian pair gave the experienced Indonesian duo a run for their money as they fought for 47 minutes before going down 17-21, 21-17, 19-21.
Meanwhile, Chen Tang Jie/Peck Yen Wei of Malaysia claimed the second title for the host by beating Andika Ramadiansyah/Mychelle Crhystine Bandaso of Indonesia in the mixed doubles final 12-21, 23-21, 21-13
Women’s Doubles: Soong Fie Cho/Tee Jing Yi (Malaysia) bt Lim Chiew Sien/Tan Sueh Jeou (Malaysia) 21-13, 21-10
Women’s singles: Wang Zhiyi (China) bt Lee Ying Ying (Malaysia) 21-10, 22-24, 21-14
Mixed Doubles: Chen Tang Jie/Peck Yen Wei (Malaysia) bt Andika Ramadiansyah/Mychelle Crhystine Bandaso (Indonesia) 12-21, 23-21, 21-13
Men’s singles: Hsueh Hsuan Yi (Taiwan) bt Tan Jia Wei (Malaysia) 21-18, 21-19
Men’s Doubles: Mohammad Ahsan/Hendra Setiawan (Indonesia) vs Aaron Chia/Soh Wooi Yik (Malaysia) 21-17, 17-21, 21-19