PROTON MALAYSIA INT’L – From Bridesmaids to Brides

Tan Wee Kiong and Woon Khe Wei (pictured) finally took a title on the senior circuit, winning the 2009 Proton Malayasia International Challenge in Ipoh on Sunday.  It was the […]

Tan Wee Kiong and Woon Khe Wei (pictured) finally took a title on the senior circuit, winning the 2009 Proton Malayasia in Ipoh on Sunday.  It was the first international tournament victory for either of them since their Asian Championship performance in 2007.  Chong Wei Feng also moved another step up from his own runner-up finish last year, beating Chan Kwong Beng to take the men’s singles title.

By Don Hearn.  Photos: BadmintonPhoto (archives)

Tan and Woon’s future looked bright when they were runners-up at the Malaysia International Challenge two years ago but they had to wait until Sunday to finally taste victory.  It came at the expense of Ng Hui Lin, Woon’s former doubles partner, and Mak Hee Chun, both of whom are former World Junior Champions, a distinction that eluded Tan/Woon despite great expectations.  Tan/Woon took the first game handily before Mak/Ng made it interesting and pushed the match to a decider but Tan/Woon came out on top of the 21-6, 13-21, 21-17 final scores.

Woon was not so lucky earlier, however, as she and Chong Sook Chin were unable to meet the challenge posed by Japan’s Eto Rie / Wakita Yu.  The Japanese ladies have found Malaysia to their liking this year.  It was here that they pulled off the biggest upset of their career by beating former World and Olympic champions Yang Wei / Zhang Jiewen at the Malaysia Grand Prix Gold.  They made quick work of Woon/Chong in the first match of the day, winning 21-18, 21-11 and signalling to Woon that she would have to wait an hour or two more, at least for her title.

Chong Wei Feng (pictured) followed a logical progression to the title at his home International Challenge.  After falling in earlier rounds in his first few attempts, Chong was a semi-finalist in 2007 and runner-up last year, losing to compatriots both times.  This year, though, he managed to best all challengers and dropped only one game in the tournament, to one of Malaysia’s top juniors, Mohd Ismail Muhammad Syawal.  Chong got the better of Chan Kwong Beng in the final, winning 21-17, 21-14 to take his first international title in two years.

Both of Thailand’s newly-crowned World Junior Champions had to settle for second best on Sunday.  First, 14-year-old Ratchanok Intanon bowed to her also teenaged compatriot Sapsiree Taerattanachai.  Ratchanon blew a 19-16 lead in the deciding game to allow Sapsiree to win it 21-11, 19-21, 22-20.

Maneepong Jongjit, meanwhile, lost an incredibly close battle in the men’s doubles.  Jongjit and Bodin Isara blew an 18-13 lead in the first game and allowed Malaysia’s Chan Peng Soon / Lim Khim Wah to take that one 22-20.  Then in the second, it was neck-and-neck after the Thais returned the favour to erase a 14-18 deficit but, although they saved a whopping four match points, they couldn’t put it away and the Malaysians kept a third title at home by winning the nail-biter 22-20, 28-26.

For complete results from the 2009 Proton Malayasia International Challenge, CLICK HERE

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Don Hearn

About Don Hearn

Don Hearn is an Editor and Correspondent who hails from a badminton-loving town in rural Canada. He joined the Badzine team in 2006 to provide coverage of the Korean badminton scene and is committed to helping Badzine to promote badminton to the place it deserves as a global sport. Contact him at: don @ badzine.net