Sunday February 10, 2013
Daren happy with his exploits in Indonesia
KUALA LUMPUR: A confidence boost. Invaluable experience. And also an injury.
That’s what national men’s singles shuttler Liew Daren picked up from the the Indonesian Super League, which ended in Jakarta yesterday.
The Malaysian Tigers Badminton Club, led by Daren, defied the odds to reach the final before going down fighting 2-3 to Musica Champion.
The Malaysians had, on Friday, beaten a strong Jaya Raya Suryanaga team, led by Sony Dwi Kuncoro, 3-2.
Daren credited his team for their fighting displays.
“We were drawn in a very intimidating group but did well to reach the final. We fought confidently and gave all the teams a run for their money. We won three ties in Group B to make the semi-finals,” said the 25-year-old Daren.
“Overall, the league was good. There were so many supporters every day and that lent a lively atmosphere to the proceedings. The Indonesian fans really love the game.”
The others in the team – seen as the side for future Thomas Cup Finals – were Chong Wei Feng, Mohd Arif Abdul Latif, Goh Soon Huat, Hoon Tien How-Tan Wee Kiong, Lim Khim Wah-Goh V Shem and Mohd Lutfi Zaim Abdul Khalid-Teo Kok Siang.
Daren said that he had learnt a lot as the team’s first singles player and cherishes his first-ever win over Lee Chong Wei against Musica Champion in the Group B tie last Sunday.
World No. 1 Chong Wei was the special guest of former world champion Hariyanto Arbi’s club – Musica Champion – but Daren pulled off a stunning 23-21, 21-14 win.
The Malaysian Tigers Badminton Club went on to beat the more fancied club 3-2, thanks to two more points from the doubles pairs Thien How-Wee Kiong and Khim Wah-V Shem.
“It was my first win over Chong Wei and I’m naturally really happy. I think Chong Wei was a bit relaxed at the start of the match and I took advantage of that. I grew more confident as the game progressed,” he said.
“I don’t think Chong Wei held back as he would have picked up a lot of money had he won ((Chong Wei was promised US$30,000 for a win by the club).
“But I don’t think Chong Wei will let me off the hook so easily next time.”
The only blot for Daren in the league was the foot injury he picked up en route to losing 21-17, 14-21, 9-21 to Kenichi Tago of the SGS PLN club in a Group B tie on Thursday.
He is keeping his fingers crossed that it won’t affect his preparations for the All-England from March 5-10.
“The sole of my foot hurt during the match against Tago and it affected my performance after that,” said Daren, who went on to lose 11-21, 13-21 to Sony in the semi-finals.
In yesterday’s final, Daren put up a spirited display before going down 21-11, 14-21, 16-21 to Tommy Sugiarto in one hour and 21 minutes.
“Hopefully, it’s not a serious injury. I have a three-day break for the Chinese New Year celebration. Hopefully, my foot will be all right when training resumes.
“I hope this injury will not hamper my preparation for the All-England,” said Daren, who reached the quarter-finals of the All-England last year.