Asian Zone Qualifying Tournament
Before the qualifiers there were fears that Malaysia might not even make it to the finals in May. You’d have to make the semis in order to qualify. In early February a BAM spokesperson was even quoted to have said that qualifying is not as important as the Olympics in July.
Seems very far from the glory days of 1992: the moment Cheah Soon Kit/Soo Beng Kiang won it for Malaysia after a 25 year wait
Malaysia have failed to qualify for the finals twice: in 1973 and 1979. The 1979 match in Kuala Lumpur went 5-4 to India, with Prakash Padukone and Syed Modi winning 2 matches each, the winning point won by Sanjay Sharma/Shri Pradeep Gandhe.
14 Feb 2012: Malaysia 3-2 Hong Kong, this result did not bring any cheers at all. In the past, we would’ve easily swatted them aside 5-0. This time our shortcomings in the singles department were embarrassingly exposed.
- Lee Chong Wei beat Wong Wing Ki 21-18, 22-20
- Koo Kien Keat/Tan Boon Heong beat Lo Lok Kei/Leong Chun Yiu 21-9, 21-14
- Mohd Hafiz Hashim lost to Hu Yun 20-22, 18-21; Hu is turning into his bogeyman; Hafiz made many unforced errors + poor judgement
- Lim Kim Wah/Goh V Shem beat Wong Wai Hong/Lee Chun Wei 21-14, 21-16
- Liew Daren lost to Chan Yan Kit 21-17, 16-21, 19-21
15 Feb 2012: Malaysia 3-2 South Korea (2nd seed), becoming champions, hence made the quarterfinals. This perfectly showcased the common perception that Malaysia’s men always manage to rise to the occasion in team events.
- Lee Chong Wei beat Lee Hyun-il 21-13, 21-15
- Koo Kien Keat/Tan Boon Heong beat Ko Sung-hyun/Yoo Yong-sung 21-14, 21-19 in 39 minutes, their first win in 7 matches against their bogeymen. This was the crunch match and kudos to KKK/TBH; they delivered when it mattered most.
- Mohd Hafiz Hashim lost to Shon Wan-ho 22-24, 16-21
- Lim Khim Wah/Goh V Shem beat Lee Yong-dae/Shin Baek-cheol 18-21, 21-19, 21-11, another upset.
- Mohd Arif Abdul Latif lost to Hong Ji-hoon 17-21, 15-21
16 Feb 2012: Quarterfinals: Malaysia 3-0 India. Taking no chances, we fielded our strongest lineup. Winning this match confirmed that we’re going to China in May.
- Lee Chong Wei beat Ajay Jayaram 21-12, 17-21, 21-8
- Koo Kien Keat/Tan Boon Heong beat Rupesh Kumar-Sanave Thomas 21-14, 23-21
- Mohd Hafiz Hashim beat P. Kashyap 21-17, 18-21, 21-11
Semifinals: Malaysia 0-3 Japan, LCW & KKK/TBH rested
3rd place playoff: Malaysia 2-3 Indonesia
Malaysia finished second behind Denmark in the group stage. LCW retired against Peter Gade, then the Danes won the first doubles, giving them a 2-0 lead. Then somehow Daren Liew won, giving us some hope. The Danes won the 2nd doubles.
In the quarters, Malaysia lost 0-3 to eventual champions China. Lin Dan toyed with Daren Liew, giving him less than 10 points in the 2nd and 3rd sets. KKK/TBH simply couldn’t handle the great Cai Yun & Fu Haifeng, while the most Hafiz got from Chen Long was 11 points.
In fact, China swatted aside everybody 3-0 all the way to the trophy. They are truly invincible now.