Six-time world champion Cheah Liek Hou made history today by becoming the first Paralympic badminton men’s singles champion.
The 33-year-old world number two was in top form as he crushed his nemesis and Games favourite Anrimusthi Dheva of Indonesia 21-17, 21-15 in the men’s singles SU5 (physical impairment) final at the Yoyogi National Stadium today.
Badminton is making its debut at the Tokyo Paralympics.
In the first game, world number one Anrimusthi made a series of errors to hand Cheah a comfortable 5-0 before the Indonesian closed the gap to 5-8.
After taking a commanding lead of 11-5 at the interval, Cheah’s performance took a dip, allowing the Indonesian to pull level at 15-15. Cheah then regained his composure before a powerful smash earned him the final point to win the first game 21-17.
The second game was a much closer battle, with both shuttlers fighting neck-and-neck before Cheah took a slim 11-10 lead at the interval.
Cheah showed great resilience to absorb the Indonesian’s attacks before sealing a 21-15 win and bag the coveted gold medal.
His victory saw Cheah stretch his winning streak at the Tokyo Paralympics Games to five straight matches, including three wins in Group B earlier.
Earlier today, the 33-year-old staged a great fightback to upset Fang Jen-yu of Chinese Taipei 15-21, 21-10, 21-16 in the semi-finals.
The Kuala Lumpur-born Cheah’s win means that Malaysia has now won two gold medals, following powerlifting ace Bonnie Bunyau Gustin’s heroics in the men’s 72kg event on Aug 28.
The national contingent had set a three-gold target for the Tokyo Paralympics.
Malaysia has also bagged two silver medals so far, through Bonnie’s teammate Jong Yee Khie in the 107kg event on Aug 30 and national boccia player Chew Wei Lun, who lost 4-2 to defending champion David Smith of Great Britain in the mixed individual BC1 (physical impairment) category on Sept 1.
Meanwhile, Fang’s hopes of a bronze medal were dashed when he lost 16-21, 9-21 to Indonesian Suryo Nugroho in 41 minutes.