KUCHING: The 46th Malaysia Open Table Tennis Championship in Johor from December 28 to 31 was a good exposure outing for the Sarawak Sukma XIII players.According to Sukma team manager Helena Wee, the four-day meet was also a good preparation for the state team for the biennial Games in Melaka from May 29 to June 8 this year.
“The championship was used to gauge the strengths and weaknesses of our players as well as those of the other state teams. We now know who our main opponents,” she said yesterday.
Wee, who also managed the team at the meet, said while the men’s team maintained their 2008 performance with two silver medals, the women’s had shown a marked improvement by reaching the semi-finals.
The state paddlers had two silver and two bronze medals to show, which was better than the one silver and one bronze medal they won in 2008.
National player Chai Kian Beng won the silver after losing 2-4 to veteran Chan Koon Wah from Putrajaya in the men’s singles final while the men’s team, comprising Kian Beng and his younger brother Kian Peng, Matteus Aloysius and Wong Jen Wei, took the silver after losing 2-3 to Putrajaya.
“Another national player Kho Mao Sheng was originally included in the men’s team but was released to play for ATM with the condition that he would be released by ATM to play for Sarawak in Sukma XIII,” Wee said.
Kian Beng teamed up with national youth player Kueh Wan May to win the bronze in the mixed doubles while the women’s team consisting of Wan May, Wendy Lau, Wong Xiao Jing, Ngu Ing Hung and Tang Wen Jiun, lost 1-3 to Melaka in the semi-finals.
“This time around, the performance of our women’s team has improved as they only made the quarter-finals in 2008,” said Wee.
At the last championship, Mao Sheng won the men’s singles silver while Kian Beng won the men’s singles bronze.