Tokyo Paralympic gold medallist Liek Hou fears age can dash his Paris dream

National para-badminton player Cheah Liek Hou expects to face tougher competition in the next three years as his opponents are all much younger. — Bernama pic
National para-badminton player Cheah Liek Hou expects to face tougher competition in the next three years as his opponents are all much younger. — Bernama pic

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KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 20 — Tokyo Paralympic gold medallist Cheah Liek Hou believes that age will be his biggest obstacle to defending his badminton gold medal at the 2024 edition in Paris.

The 33-year-old national shuttler expects to face tougher competition in the next three years as his opponents are all much younger.

Despite not receiving much opposition en route to winning the gold medal at the recent Tokyo Paralympics, Liek Hou said he never underestimated the ability of his opponents.

“I respect all my opponents and, given the age difference, I had to be on my toes at all times.

“I never took them for granted, especially since they were all very young and in their 20s,” he said when met by reporters at a ceremony to celebrate the success of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games athletes and their coaches today.

At the ceremony, which was held at the Akademi Badminton Malaysia (ABM) in Bukit Kiara here, Liek Hou received an incentive of RM10,000 from the Kuala Lumpur Badminton Association (KLBA).

In Tokyo, Liek Hou won gold in the SU5 (physical impairment) category after defeating 22-year-old Indonesian top seed Dheva Anrimusthi 21-17, 21-15 in the final to create history by becoming the first Paralympic badminton men’s singles champion.

Badminton made its debut at the Tokyo Paralympics.

Liek Hou, who is also a six-time world champion, now intends to make history as the para shuttler with the longest unbeaten record.

According to local media reports, the 2020 Paralympic victory saw Liek Hou extend his unbeaten run in any competition to 35 matches since October 2019.

“Hopefully, I can maintain this unbeaten record, I want to create history,” he said when answering questions as to whether he was aiming for a record of 100-match unbeaten run. — Bernama

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