Kuala Lumpur: With just 99 days to go until the Tokyo Paralympic Games, Malaysia’s SU5 (upper body disability) World No. 2 Cheah Liek Hou has officially qualified for the Paralympic Games scheduled to be held from August 24 to September 5.
Cheah who won his second title of the season at the Spanish Para International Badminton Championships on Sunday was happy with the result in Spain. He beat World No. 5 Taiyo Imai of Japan 21-13, 21-11 to seal the Spain title in just 34 minutes.
“I need to stay in quarantine for one week after returning from Dubai and only had three weeks to get ready for the Spanish Para-Badminton International,” said Cheah through a video he shared with the media.
Cheah defeated World No. 3 Suryo Nugroho of Indonesia in the semi-final of the 3rd Fazza-Dubai Para-Badminton International 21-18, 21-16 in early April. In the final, after losing the first game to World No. 1 Dheva Anrimusthi of Indonesia 14-21, Cheah staged a remarkable comeback in the second by saving three match-points and went on winning the second set 22-20. In the final game, Cheah shrugged off a slow start, rallying from 1-7 to beat the World No. 1 21-18 for the Dubai title.
The six-time World Champion admitted his experience in Dubai helped him overcame the pressure and achieved success in Spain.
He was also grateful and appreciated the efforts made by the Malaysian coaching staff who helped to analyze each of his opponents and allowed him to excel in the Spanish Para International Badminton.
Meanwhile, another Malaysian athlete, Muhammad Ikhwan Ramli, who competed in the Spanish final of WH1 (wheelchair) category, had to settle for silver after losing to Lee Dongseop of South Korea 13-21, 16-21.
In addition to men’s singles, Cheah has a pretty high world ranking in men’s doubles as well. He and Mohamad Faris Ahmad Azri were ranked World No. 3 in the SU5 category, behind World No. 1 Raj Kumar/Rakesh Pandey of India and WOrld No. 2 Dheva Anrimusthi/Hafizh Briliansyah Prawiranegara of Indonesia.