Cheah Liek Hou Stages Stunning Comeback to Win the 2021 Dubai Para-Badminton International

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Cheah Liek Hou wins the 2021 Dubai Para Badminton International. (photo: Cheah Liek Hou's Instagram)
Cheah Liek Hou wins the 2021 Dubai Para Badminton International. (photo: Cheah Liek Hou's Instagram)

Dubai: Malaysia’s six-time SU5 (impairment in the upper body) men’s singles para-badminton world champion, Cheah Liek Hou, pulled off a great escape, saving four match points while rallying to beat World No. 1 Dheva Anrimusthi of Indonesia to win the 2021 Dubai Para-Badminton International on Sunday.

This was Cheah’s first international title in more than a year since he last won the 2020 Peru Para-Badminton International in February of last year.

Cheah put up a strong challenge at beginning of the first game against Anrimusthi, where he was a little behind with 9-10. After that, Cheah seemed to have lost focus allowing Anrimusthi to reel off 7 consecutive points to eventually go down 14-21 in the first game.

The World No. 2 Malaysian got off to a slow start in the second set but managed to narrow the gap at 16-17. Anrimusthi was on the verge of victory as he scored 3 straight points to lead at 20-16. Cheah then showed tremendous grit and determination to somehow playing with nice net shots and smashes to level the score at 20-20. He won the second game 22-20 with a kill near the net when Anrimusthi’s return was too high.

In the sort of late drama, after trailing 1-7 in the decider, Cheah once again showed high fighting spirit and tied the score at 11-11. Cheah continued to move the shuttlecock to the baseline of his opponent while finding opportunities to smash and score points by leading at 19-17. But Anrimusthi just wouldn’t give up and managed to narrow the gap at 18-19. Nevertheless, the Indonesian’s cross-court drop shot found the net which gave Cheah the matchpoint, and Cheah didn’t disappoint when he unleashed a powerful cross-court smash towards the left-hand side of Anrimusthi to clinch the championship point, winning the decider 21-18.

In addition to Cheah, two other Malaysians, including Muhammad Ikhwan Ramli and Noor Azwan Noorlan also claimed the Dubai Para-Badminton International title in both WH1(Wheelchair/ severe impairment)and WH2 (Wheelchair/minor impairment) categories respectively.

Ramli defeated David Toupe of France 23-21, 21-13 in the final of WH1, while Noorlan overcame Rick Cornell Hellmann of Germany 18-21, 21-18, 21-12 in the WH2 category.

In case you are not sure what’s the difference between all para-badminton categories, here’s a quick summary of the Classification of Para-Badminton.

Classes:
WH1 (Wheelchair/ severe impairment)
WH2 (Wheelchair/minor impairment)
SL3 (Standing/lower limb impairment/minor)
SL4 (Standing/ lower limb impairment/severe)
SU5 (Standing/upper limb impairment)
SH6 (Standing/short stature)

Eligible Impairment Types:
Impaired muscle power
Athetosis
Impaired passive range of movement
Hypertonia
Limb deficiency
Ataxia
Leg length difference
Short stature

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