KUALA LUMPUR: Chan Kwong Beng, one of Malaysia’s longest serving back-up shuttlers, crashed out of the China Masters as the host nation showed that they have plenty in the tank for the future – with four of their fresh faces marching into the main draw in Changzhou.
The 24-year-old Kwong Beng, who has come through the Badminton Association of Malaysia’s (BAM) development programme since he was in Form 1, lost 14-21, 14-21 to China’s Chen Yuekun in the second round of the qualifying tournament yesterday.
Yuekun will be joined by compatriots Zhou Wenlong, Qiao Bin and Gao Huan in the first round of the main draw today and the youngsters’ domination just goes to show that China have enough in reserves to make their presence felt as the new Olympic cycle unfolds ahead of the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games.
The China Masters is the first major tournament after the last month’s London Olympic Games.
The defeat has put Kwong Beng’s future in the national team in the balance.
His defeat is not surprising as Kwong Beng had earlier requested for a switch of coaches. He wanted BAM to let him leave Rashid Sidek and to train under Hendrawan in a bid to revive his badminton career.
The BAM, however, had not made any decisions.
Without Kwong Beng, Malaysia’s focus at the China Masters will shift to two other back-up shuttlers – Liew Daren and Chong Wei Feng – and veteran Mohd Hafiz Hashim.
Daren opens his campaign against India’s Sourabh Varma. A win will pit him against Jan O Jorgensen of Denmark.
The Malaysian enjoyed a rare win over Jorgensen in the tiea gainst Denmark at the Thomas Cup Finals in Guangzhou in May.
Wei Feng also faces a challenging task against Thailand’s Boonsak Ponsana in the first round. If he can clear the Thai hurdle, it will go a long way to show that Malaysia need not only depend on world No. 2 Lee Chong Wei for honours.
KLRC’s Hafiz takes on India’s R.M.V. Gurusaidutt and the outcome could well hinge on the Malaysian’s fitness.
China will be banking on their seniors Chen Long and Chen Jin for a 1-2 finish.
In the men’s doubles, without
With Goh V Shem-Lim Khim Wah out of the equation, Malaysia’s focus in the men’s doubles will be on four pairs – Chan Peng Soon-Ong Jian Guo, Hoon Thien How-Tan Wee Kiong, Mohd Fairuzizuan Mohd Tazari-Mohd Zakry Abdul Latif and Gan Teik Chai-Ong Soon Hock.
Except for Peng Soon-Jian Guo, the others have been given a first-round bye.
Peng Soon-Jian Guo will meet A. Songphon-Sudket Prapakamol of Thailand today.