Monday, September 17, 2007

Sock Khim to lead Asian challenge in Beh’s absence

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia will be without the services of top female player Beh Lee Wei in the 18th Asian Table Tennis Championships, which will be held in Yangzhou from Sept 17-23.

The current national champion withdrew from the squad yesterday to allow her time to recover from a back muscle tear injury.

In her absence, Ng Sock Khim will spearhead the women’s challenge along with Chiu Soo Jiin and Gam Gaik Ping.

The men’s challenge will be led by Mohd Shakirin together with Kho Mao Sheng and Chai Kian Beng. Another member of the men’s team, Goon Wei Cheng, has to withdraw after undergoing an appendicitis operation on Friday.

The absence of Lee Wei will certainly be felt because of her ability to play well in both the singles and doubles.

However, national coach Hao Peishu said that it was better that they left her out of the team in view of the SEA Games in Korat in December.

“We do not want her to aggravate the injury because she has an important role to play for us in fighting for medals in both the team and individual competitions at the SEA Games,” he said.

The 24-year-old Lee Wei said that she sustained the injury during the Commonwealth Championships in India two months ago.

“It is painful each time I exert myself. I will need to undergo physiotherapy at the National Sports Council for the next three to four weeks,” said the 2005 Manila SEA Games bronze medallist.

The same squad going for the Asian Championships will be involved in the Korat Games. The paddlers will remain in China for training after the championships. They will be based in Zhengding until the Games and Lee Wei will be joining the team in mid-October.

The Table Tennis Association of Malaysia (TTAM) acting president, Datuk Tang See Hang, said that their target for the Games was one silver and two bronze medals.

“For the Asian Championships, we finish ninth out of 21 teams in the men’s competition and 10th out of 16 teams in the women’s competition. We hope to better or maintain our rankings,” said See Hang after a flag-handing ceremony to the team yesterday.

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