Suryo ousts The King a second time

Suryo Nugroho leaping to unleash a smash during the badminton team final against Malaysia. The Indonesian beat world No. 1 Cheah Liek Hou of Malaysia to claim the SU5 men's singles title yesterday.
Suryo Nugroho leaping to unleash a smash during the badminton team final against Malaysia. The Indonesian beat world No. 1 Cheah Liek Hou of Malaysia to claim the SU5 men's singles title yesterday.ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

Speed helps Indonesian become region's undisputed para-badminton champion

For 12 years, Malaysian para-shuttler Cheah Liek Hou was the undisputed king of para-badminton, remaining undefeated until Indonesian Suryo Nugroho broke that streak in August.

Yesterday, Suryo proved his feat in the final of the Indonesia Para-Badminton International was no fluke. He defeated the defending champion Cheah 21-17, 21-19 to win the SU5 singles gold at the Asean Para Games. It was only the second time he had beaten the world No. 1 in seven meetings.

It was a case of speed versus power as Cheah, despite his thunderous strokes, was unable to keep up with Suryo's fast footwork.

The Malaysian also produced a few unforced errors which Suryo capitalised on with glee.

Backed by a small crowd of vocal supporters, Suryo raced to an 11-1 lead in the first game. Cheah did stage a comeback but was too late to prevent the first game going in his opponent's favour.

OPEN-MINDED APPROACH

He's No. 1 in the world... (but) I had no expectations. Anything can happen on the court.

SURYO NUGROHO , the winner of the SU5 singles title, on his approach in the final against his fancied Malaysian rival

The second game proved far more even, with both competitors raising the decibel levels in the OCBC Arena, matching each other point for point until 19-19 before Suryo claimed the last two points and the title.

The Indonesian told The Straits Times after his win: "I'm very happy. It's only the second time I've beaten him."

The 20-year-old, who had his left arm amputated as a result of a motorcycle accident when he was 12, added: "He (Cheah) is a very good opponent. He's No. 1 in the world but I didn't think whether I was going to win or lose today.

"I had no expectations. Anything can happen on the court."

A disappointed Cheah said: "I didn't get the momentum going into the match and I could not pick up the level against him.

"I'm getting older now, and he is much faster than me. He also trains full time while I prepared for this APG in one week because I was working, so I didn't prepare well enough," added Cheah, a marketing executive with Wilson Malaysia.

The 27-year-old exacted a small amount of revenge later in the men's doubles final, as he and Hairulfozi Saaba beat Suryo and Oddie Kurnia Dwi Listyanto 21-13, 21-6 to win the gold medal.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 09, 2015, with the headline 'SURYO OUSTS THE KING A SECOND TIME'. Print Edition | Subscribe