Unstoppable Liek Hou tops Group B

Unstoppable Liek Hou tops Group B

TOKYO: National badminton ace, Cheah Liek Hou(pix) maintained his fine run in the Paralympic Games after recording another win to emerge as the men’s singles SU5 (physical impairment) Group B champion today.

The six-time world champion took 41 minutes to defeat home shuttler, Taiyo Imai, 21-19, 21-12, on the third day of badminton held in Yoyogi National Stadium.

After leading the Japanese 11-9 before the interval, a series of mistakes proved costly for Liek Hou, allowing Taiyo to level the tie at 19-19 before the Malaysian shuttler regained his composure to take the first set 21-19.

In the second set, the second seed of the Games was in no match for Taiyo, as the former managed to produce a scintillating display from the start to win 21-12.

Commenting on his final group match, Liek Hou admitted he was too eager to win the first set, which gave Taiyo the advantage to make a stunning comeback before he secured a victory with a two points margin.

Despite having a bright chance to win a medal for Malaysia, Liek Hou said he wanted to take on the game step by step and hoped to get a good draw in the last four, to be held later today.

“No time for me to think about getting a medal yet as I don’t want to lose focus in the semis,” he told Bernama when met after the match.

The semi-final match is scheduled to be held tomorrow morning while the final will be in the evening.

Meanwhile, Malaysian swimmer, Brenda Anellia Larry failed to progress to the women’s 50-metre backstroke S4 (physical impairment) final after she ended her debut in Paralympic Games in the fifth place of the first heat today.

The 16-year-old Sabahan clocked 59.33 seconds (s) and ranked 11th place out of 15 swimmers from two heats, held in Tokyo Aquatics Centre.

Only the best eight athletes from both heats progress to the final, to be held later today.

Yu Liu of China, who swam in heat two, emerged the fastest swimmer en route to smashing the world record set by her compatriot, Jiao Cheng of 46.51s in Mexico in 2017, with a new record of 45.81s today. –Bernama