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ARKIB : 09/01/2004

Chong Wei on course to retain title

SEREMBAN Jan 8 - Defending champion Lee Chong Wei is on the right track to winning his second national title when he outclassed Mohamed Hazwan Jamalluddin on the morning session of the opening day of the Proton-Eon National Grand Prix Badminton Finals 2003 at the Negeri Sembilan Chinese Recreation Club (NSCRC), here, Thursday.

The 21-year-old Penangite took just 25 minutes to tame his junior, Mohamed Hazwan, who represented Negeri Sembilan, 15-5, 15-10.

"It's quite an easy game playing with my juniors. It's just a warm-up game for me. I've beaten Mohd Hazwan before, in the first round of the Kuala Lumpur Open last December," Chong Wei told reporters after the game.

Chong Wei is expected to retain his title in the absence of three top national shuttlers, Wong Choong Hann and the Hashim brothers, Roslin and Hafiz, in this tournament.

The three top shuttlers skipped the two legs held in Selangor in April and in Kuala Lumpur last month because of their involvement in various international competitions and thus failed to pick up any ranking points to qualify for the finals.

The only senior national shuttler to make the cut to the Grand Prix finals, Lee Tsuen Seng, also advanced to the second round Thursday evening when he trounced Azrihanif Azahar 15-3, 15-4 in 22 minutes.

Azrihanif failed to match the fast pace set by the experienced Tsuen Seng.

In other matches, Bahrain Satellite champion Kuan Beng Hong beat Mohamed Nazree Latifi 15-9, 15-10 while Indian Satellite champion Yeoh Kay Bin struggled in a rubber set before overcoming Sairul Amar Ayob 13-15, 15-9, 15-3.

Others who won their first-round matches are Tan Zhao Rong who defeated Ismail Saman 17-16, 15-13 and Ramesh Nathan who beat Salim Samion 15-11, 15-3.

In the womens's singles event, Vietnam SEA Games gold medallist Wong Mew Choo showed her class when she easily trounced Ooi Yu Hang 11-1, 11-3 while Koo Kien Keat/Chin Eei Hui edged Tan Bin Shen/See Phui Leng 15-7, 15-4 in the doubles.

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