Badminton Life

Malaysia Battle to Beat Korea in Thomas Cup Qualifier Final

Malaysia won the Thomas Cup Asian qualifier in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam with a hard-fought 3-2 victory over a surprisingly competitive Korean side in the final.

Although Malaysia ended up with the gold medal it was the Koreans who inspired the crowd as they rested their top players but still managed to take two points off the Malaysians.

World number two Lee Chong Wei led the way for Malaysia with an easy victory over 62nd-ranked Mo Shon Seung. The Malaysian number two, Wong Choong Hann, ranked 16th in the world, then dispatched 64-ranked Lee Cheol-ho to give his side a comfortable 2-0.

If the Malaysian doubles teams thought they could wrap up the final with ease, they had a surprise in store. Their number one team of Koo Kien Keat and Tan Boon Heong, ranked third in the world, were favourites to beat Jung Jae-sung and Lee Jae-jin.

Their confidence was boosted by the fact that Koo and Tan had earlier beaten Jung and Lee Yong-dae. However, the new pairing stunned the Malaysian pair 21-16, 17-21, 21-19, to make the score 2-1 to the Southeast Asian side.

Park Sung-hwan and Hwang Ji-man then had Malaysia reeling with a 21-19, 21-18 triumph over the world number 14 duo of Abdul Latif Mohd Zakry and Mohd Tazari Mohd Fairuzizuan.

It was now 2-2 and it was left to singles player Hafiz Hashim to deliver the winning points for Malaysia. Although his opponent, Lee Yong-dae, never expected to be playing in the deciding singles match, Hafiz was under pressure.

But he rose to the occasion to beat Lee 21-17, 21-10 to give Malaysia the gold medal.

Rexy Mainaky, Malaysia's doubles coach was disappointed his players were unable to deliver against supposedly weaker players.

He said: "It is a mentality problem. When they saw the draw in the afternoon, they thought it would be easy games. But when they get on court and realised that it isn't, they struggled to switch their mentality accordingly.

"We've guided them the best we can and there is not much coaches can do about this. Only they can control their hearts and minds, which is what my players have to learn in order to stop losing to lower ranked pairs."

Both Malaysia and Korea qualified for the Thomas Cup Finals in Jakarta, Indonesia in May. They will be joined by the third-placed team Japan and fourth-placed Thailand. The Japanese beat Thailand 3-1 in the third-place play-off.

Return from Malaysia Battle to Beat Korea in Thomas Cup Qualifier Final to Badminton News & Videos

Return from Malaysia Battle to Beat Korea in Thomas Cup Qualifier Final to Badminton Information

Badminton Life
Join Our Free Training Tips Newsletter

Get 2 Training Videos and The Singles Tactics E-Book For Free!

Join the Badminton Life Newsletter and get 2 free sample videos from The Essentials of Badminton Technique and a free E-Book on Singles Tactics!

Badminton Life