Asian Para Games 2018: Malaysia’s Cheah Liek Hou is ready
Cheah Liek Hou first picked up a badminton racket at the age of nine, this week-end and next week he will walk out to in front of a packed stadium to defend his status as Asian Para Games Champion. But long before medals, titles and trophies the young Cheah played for the love of the sport. Back then he played against able bodied players and represented his school and state. At the age of fifteen he joined para badminton, but never really thought about being abled or disabled, just about fighting for improvement.
Now, about fifteen years after his debut, as world ranking leader in the SU5 class he is favourite to pick up back to back Gold medals. To the question if it brings a lot of pressure he answers; ”I’m hoping the Indonesian guys can take the pressure off me a bit! The Games are hosted in Indonesia so there’ll be a lot of attention on them. There are some really good Indonesian players, so the pressure won’t be the same if it was in Malaysia. Also, I don’t put any unnecessary pressure on myself”.
Still Cheah is focussed on defending his title; -“Hopefully I can defend my Asian Para Games title from four years ago, that is what I want and I will fight for it. I can’t be 100% sure that I’ll win the title, because there’s a really strong group of players. So I will try my best to win and defend the title”.
Cheah is hoping that these Asian Para Games can be a springboard for the sport in Malaysia. The profile of Para-Badminton is growing but still small, despite the popularity of the able bodied sport in the country. The sport as a whole is on the up and received a huge boost with the news that Badminton will be a new Paralympic event at 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo, Japan.
“It is really good for the sport. People from all around the world will see it. The Paralympic Games are still two years away and I think there will be more athletes in para badminton next year. Countries will be sending more athletes to qualify for the 2020 Paralympics.”
The experienced badminton star has been made to wait for his shot at Paralympic glory. Having operated at the top of the sport for the last decade it will be a momentous occasion when he steps onto the court in 2020 in search of Malaysia’s first Gold Paralympic Medal in badminton. “For me it is very important, because I have waited for a long time, I hoped for it to
be part of it at the 2004 and 2008 Paralympic Games already, but at last we made it to the Paralympics. I hope I can be the first to get the gold for the Malaysian badminton team.”
But for now Cheah is focussed on the goal in front of him; taking home a Gold medal from the Asian Para Games. For further information about the Asian Para Games, which start tomorrow – Saturday 6th October, check out our profile article here
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