Friday, March 2, 2007

MGF lift ban on Ernadia


THE Malaysian Gymnastics Federation (MGF) yesterday lifted the one-year
ban on 13-year-old Ernadia Os'Hara at their council meeting in Kuala
But it comes with a condition, one which Ernadia's parents are reluctant
to accept.
"After careful consideration, the MGF found that Ernadia should be given
a chance to prepare for the Kuala Lumpur Commonwealth Games," said MGF
president Dr Zakaria Ahmad.
"We have lifted the ban but she must train with the Jaya '98 squad and
not with the Selangor Sports Council like she is doing now. If she carries
on the ban will remain."
Ernadia's father Omar Ahmad, although pleased to hear that the ban was
lifted, said he is unhappy with the conditions imposed.
"If she trains with the Sukom squad then she's finished. There's just
too much of politicking in the MGF with parents having control over
coaches and officials.
"We don't want other parents to interfere with our daughter's progress.
Ernadia was victimised twice previously and we don't want this to happen
"Until all this is sorted out, we won't allow our daughter to train in
Bukit Jalil."
Omar said he had anticipated the outcome of the meeting and will discuss
the matter with the National Sports Council before making a final
Ernadia, who helped Malaysia win the women's artistic team gold at the
Jakarta Sea Games, was thrust into the limelight when she refused to
compete in the Seagon Junior championships at the Bukit Jalil Sports
School (BJSS) on Dec 19-21.
Right now Ernadia has her own coach and trains with the Selangor Sports
Council of which her father is the team manager. She is the only gymnast
in the Jaya '98 squad who does train at the BJSS.
A source close to the MGF added a new twist to the Ernadia story: "It
has nothing to do with politicking but a move that has backfired.
There were plans for her to compete in the Malaysia Games where she is a
sure medal prospect but being in the Jaya '98 squad, she would not be
eligible to compete for Selangor.
"So she opted out and trained on her own not knowing that the MGF will
hit her with a one-year suspension. Now she is on the losing end."
The MGF are keen to have all their gymnasts under one roof because it is
easier to monitor their progress and, according to the president, they
will be intensifying training soon and cannot afford to have loose
"We will invite Ernadia back but she has to toe the line like the rest.
We took into consideration that she is a national gymnast and has the
capabilities to compete in the Commonwealth Games.
"It is up to Ernadia now," he added.

Wrong use of pesticide leaves greens in bad shape


JUST when things were shaping well at the Subang National Golf Club, the
venue for the US$300,000 Benson and Hedges Malaysian Open, the wrong use
of pesticide has resulted in several greens suffering ugly odd patches on
Malaysian Golf Association president Thomas M.L. Lee said yesterday that
"some mistakes were made by the groundsmen that caused the problem."
"It was worse on Friday but it is better today," said Lee, who visited
the course to see for himself the damage to the greens, which came less
than a month after several greens were damaged in an alleged act of
sabotage over a labour dispute between the club and the Union.
The Union has also directed all employees not to do overtime. However,
the club have assured the MGA that there will no hitches despite the
Lee said the second and eighth hole are most affected.
As for the rest of the greens there are odd patches here and there.
The only solution he said was for "solid turfing - where you take blocks
of grass from elsewhere and place it in the damaged areas."
Lee ruled out a change in venue as it involves "logistics and other
supporting services which are now in place."
"I admit having the tournament at KGNS is not an ideal situation. But we
must make do with it. We are left with no choice."
A tour of the course with KGNS general manager Gurmit Singh yesterday
showed that there is some progress made.
"We have also patched the greens at hole No 2 and 8 and the grass will
definitely grow before the Open," said Gurmit.
Holes No 2 and No 8 have about 4cm-deep cuts and the ugly patches are
noticeable from a distance.
Gurmit remains confident that the course will be in top shape come Feb
19 when the tournament tees off.
"What we have done is spray chemicals around the bunkers to check the
growth of grass.
"This is a normal practice because to trim them before the Malaysian
Open will be a messy business. That is why the grass is brown instead of
The other greens showed a marked improvement compared to two weeks ago
and workers were seen trimming the fairways and perparing the bunkers.
The arch at the main entrance too is almost ready.
"We will prepare the greens before the Open and when we start trimming
it further you can come and watch the professionals play on the best
available course in the country."

Tour hosts short of RM3m


THREE million ringgit in one week. That is how much the organisers of the
Le Tour de Langkawi will have to source for if they don't want to end up
losers like last year.
"We have a pool of about 10 other sponsors who will contribute in cash
and kind but we are still short of RM3 million to organise the Tour which
begins on Feb 18," said First Cartel executive chairman Wan Lokman Wan
Ibrahim in Shah Alam yesterday.
"This year we did not receive anything from the government. Our main
sponsors are Telekom who handed in RM6 million and Petronas who gave RM2.5
The third richest bicycle race in the world, with RM1.6 million in prize
money on offer, is the brainchild of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir
Mohamad who wanted larger local participation at international sports
First Cartel, the organisers of the Tour, are still paying for a loan
they took to organise the race last year. And this year, they are finding
it hard to approach potential sponsors.
Petronas have come in strongly to help the third edition of the Tour as
they will also sponsor RM400,000 worth of fuel vouchers.
Yesterday, DRB-Hicom handed in 106 cars to be used for the Tour while
Sukom Ninety Eight Berhad pledged to provide souvenir bags.
The DRB-Hicom sponsored cars will later be handed over to Sukom to be
utilised for the Commonwealth Games.
"Sukom will use the Tour to promote the Commonwealth Games.
"We will go big on advertising and also set up booths along the route to
sell Commonwealth Games souvenirs and hand out pamphlets," said Sukom
Chief Executive Officer Lt Gen (R) Datuk Manap Ibrahim.
Fifteen Sukom-trained volunteers will also assist in running the Tour in
order to get first-hand experience.
Malaysia will be represented by Time Telekom-Malaysia and Malaysia B in
the 1,820km Tour which is given 2.5 classification by the International
Cycling Union (UCI).
Time Telekom-Malaysia will be made up of veterans M. Kumaresan, Tsen
Seong Hoong, Shahrulneeza Razali, Nor Affendy Rosli who will be joined by
Syed Hussaini Mazlan and Mahadzir Hamad.
Malaysia B will be represented by Hardi Razali, Musairi Musa, Wong Ah
Thiam, Lee Robert, Chung Chee Wai and Faizul Izuan Rahman.
Japan, who are not fielding a team, and South Korea's absence have
boosted Malaysia's chances of winning the Orange Jersey.
The teams that will be in Malaysia's way for the overall Asian leader's
Orange Jersey are China, Indonesia and the Philippines.
The Russians represented by Lada-CSKA-Samara, who will be making their
debut in the Tour, were the first team to arrive on Jan 21 and headed
straight for Cameron Highlands to get acclimatised. The other teams will
arrive soon.
Last year, Italy-MG Tech's Luca Scinto won his second Tour when he beat
Australia's Henk Vogels by two minutes and 24 seconds at the end of the
60.5km around the Island final stage.
The Orange Jersey was won by Sergei Lavrenenko from Kazakhstan.

Open may be moved


WITH five days to go the Subang National Golf Club (KGNS) are in danger of
losing the US$300,000 Benson and Hedges Malaysian Open as almost all the
greens are damaged by "a fungus attack".
And now some tournament officials want the venue shifted to Templer Park
Golf and Country Club (TPGCC) as they feel the KGNS greens are unplayable.
"The opinions are divided. Some say it is playable but that is not
enough," said Malaysian Golf Association (MGA) secretary Capt William van
"Personally I feel the greens are getting bad."
A final decision will be made on the venue today when KGNS management
meet with MGA top brass, minus president Thomas M.L. Lee, who is in Japan.
"Templer Park are the only venue prepared to host the tournament. We
must make a decision after taking into account various factors including
the time constraints."
The practice round is on Monday and the tournament proper starts next
KGNS general manager Gurmit Singh blamed the bad conditions of the
greens on a fungus attack.
"It is called Pythium Red Blight. It is a warm-weather patch disease
capable of destroying a bentgrass green within one night in mid-summer,"
said Gurmit.
Gurmit has been confident despite some employees, upset with the
management over a labour dispute, allegedly sprayed pesticide on the
greens a month ago.
Subsequently, several greens again suffered ugly patches but Gurmit
remained confident.
However, yesterday Gurmit was less optimistic: "Everybody wants to know
whether the course will be ready for the tournament, that is the million
dollar question now."
It is understood the KGNS management feel the course "is playable" but
tournament officials including tournament director Jeremy Kilby feels
TPGCC manager Ding Meng Sing declined to comment as he has "to sort
matters out with the members first."
He, however, said the course is fit for an international tournament.
Templer Park had offered to host the tournament a month ago when they
learnt of the labour dispute at KGNS. Even the Saujana Golf and Country
Club was put on standby by MGA.
However, repeated promises from KGNS convinced MGA that a change was
The exercise to shift the venue will cost the sponsors about RM200,000.
Said a spokesman: "The media tent alone cost us about RM60,000. Add the
scoreboard and other expenses, we are going to be hard hit.
"But we don't mind because we don`t think KGNS are in a position to
host. We would rather cut our losses than get bad publicity."

KGNS hoping for miracle


SUBANG National Golf Club (KGNS) president Datuk Sabbaruddin Chik believes
in miracles.
That is the only logical explanation to his request for a 24-hour
extension for grass to grow at the greens of his club, venue of next
week's US$300,000 Benson and Hedges Malaysian Open golf tournament.
Sabbaruddin, the Culture, Arts and Tourism Minister, has managed to
convince the Malaysian Golf Association (MGA) top brass to postpone a
decision which they should have taken a month ago.
All 18 holes at the KGNS have turned brown and general manager Gurmit
Singh blamed the bad conditions of the greens on a "fungus attack".
Gurmit had explained on Tuesday: "It is called Pythium Red Blight. It is
a warm-weather patch disease capable of destroying a bentgrass green
within one night."
Of the 18 tournament holes, 15 have large brown patches which are sandy
while the other three are slowly drying up. The most badly affected is
Hole No 14.
Problems at the course started two months ago and the greens have since
turned from bad to worse but the MGA, who have the final say on the venue,
have been sitting pretty, hoping for matters to be resolved on their own.
The minister, who visited all the greens yesterday, was not available
for comment but club captain Dr Sheffie Bakar and greens superintendent
Shane Bisseker were oozing with confidence.
"As far as the club are concerned we rely on the experts when it comes
to course matters and Bisseker has confirmed that the greens will be in
playable conditions when the Malaysian Open begins on Feb 19," said
MGA vice-president Liew Kai Choon also placed full confidence in
Bisseker, a man who brought new meaning to the sport when he said
yesterday that "golf was just a game to get the ball into a hole".
"Since the pros would only be looking to sink the ball, we will give
them greens which would be capable of doing just that. Let's not get too
technical and talk about how many putts it takes to do so," said Bisseker.
Tournament director Jeremy Kilby, a powerful figure in any tournament,
was evasive when asked if the course would be playable.
"Let's wait another day before we make a stand," said Kilby, who is
responsible for inspecting the course, plots for pin placements and the
make up of rules.
The chairman of the organising committee, who is MGA president Thomas
M.L. Lee in this case, depends on his professional advice on whether the
course is in good condition and playable.
"It would be prudent for the MGA to decide soon," conceded Kilby.
Time is against the Open because tomorrow several foreign professionals
would be flying down to play a few rounds at KGNS and with them would come
a band of foreign journalists eager to report on the condition of golf
courses in Malaysia.
But then again, the Tourism Minister should know best about publicity.
Meanwhile, Yukinori Miyauchi, the assistant general manager of the
Templer Park Golf and Country Club, has clarified that they did not offer
to take over as hosts but were approached to be on standby.

KGNS back down, Saujana take over


THEY had wanted 24 hours for their greens to turn green and in the end
Subang National Golf Club (KGNS) bowed to the inevitable - that they
cannot host the 1998 Benson and Hedges Malaysian Open.
The Malaysian Golf Association (MGA) announced yesterday at a Press
conference at KGNS that the Open will be held at the Saujana Golf and
Country Club.
"The decision to move was taken with great difficulty, taking into
consideration the considerable amount of work done by the KGNS committee,"
said MGA president Thomas M.L. Lee, who is also the chairman of the
Malaysian Open organising committee.
Fungus hit the KGNS greens two months ago and last Wednesday all 18
holes had turned brown.
KGNS president Datuk Sabbaruddin Chik had on Friday requested for 24
hours to get the greens back to green but that was asking for the
All 18 greens stayed brown.
"The MGA feel that they cannot take a risk with the condition of the
greens which are getting worse, notwithstanding the assurances of KGNS
course superintendent Shane Bisseker," said Lee.
Club captain Dr Sheffie Bakar said the KGNS management asked for the 24
hours based on Bisseker's optimism that he could turn the greens around.
However, MGA decided that even if the fungus attack had been arrested
and the greens had somehow been ready yesterday, they would not be able to
withstand one week of play.
Lee and Sabbaruddin toured KGNS yesterday and the Minister asked MGA to
make the decision.
"MGA are very grateful to Sabbaruddin for making our job easier," said
MGA have the final say on the choice of venues.
Lee said that in future a venue must be ready well before the Open and
the MGA would inspect it three months from the tournament date.
Of KGNS, Lee said: "We have to respect the hosts and give them time to
try their best."
Meanwhile, tournament director Jeremy Kilby made a quick visit to
Saujana yesterday and pronounced them fit for the Open.
"I inspected the greens. They are in perfect condition. We will start
moving tomorrow (today)," said Kilby.
Saujana were Malaysian Open hosts in 1987 and last year when England's
Lee Westwood won.
Westwood is expected to arrive tomorrow with other foreign golfers to
play a few rounds at the Saujana course.
The Pro-Am will be held on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Saujana wasted no time soon after the announcement was made that they
would be hosting the Open.
Saujana GC general manager Mior Husnan said the course was in shape for
the Open but modestly proclaimed: "Maybe it was not as good as last year
when we hosted it.
"Then we had plenty of time to work on it.
"However, we have some experienced staff such as Baldwin Lopez to handle
Baldwin was the general manager of Royal Selangor Golf Club for close to
two decades and was a key member of the organising committee of several
Opens hosted by the club.
The chairman of Saujana GC is Datuk Razali Abdul Rahman who is also the
Malaysian PGA president.
MGA president Lee also sits on the board of the Saujana GC.

Pragas' plight touches hearts of golfing stars


KUALA LUMPUR, Fri. - They came to compete in the Malaysian Open Golf
Tournament, but when they read about J. Pragas' plight in the New Straits
Times today, six players from Europe and Flagship Marketing decided to
donate RM15,000 to help save his leg.
Pragas, whose parents Muthammah and T. Jayaram are rubber tappers at the
Ladang Bukit Pilah in Rompin, Johor, needs the money to undergo an
operation to save his leg from being amputated.
European Tour players Lee Westwood, Darren Clarke, David Howell, Paul
McGinley, Thomas Bjorn, Stuart Andrew, Ian Garbutt and Flagship Marketing
director Dale Hobson chipped in and the message to Pragas is: "Get well
"Most of us are regulars at the Malaysian Open and we have been here
many times before. The Malaysian people have been very kind to us and this
is our way of saying thank you," said Clarke, on behalf of the donors.
"We hope this small token will help the boy keep his leg."
Pragas' dilemma began in August when he became ill due to high fever and
his leg became badly swollen. Doctors in Segamat operated his leg and
inserted a tube to remove blood and pus. Pragas' leg was operated another
three times unsuccessfully.
The boy's case was then referred to an orthopaedic surgeon at the Puteri
Specialist Hospital in Johor Baru who said he could save Pragas' leg.
The operation and post-operative treatment will cost about RM15,000.
Whatever their scores on the Saujana greens, the six are surely
champions where Pragas is concerned.

Fryatt denies Westwood a second title


EDWARD FRYATT denied fellow Englishman Lee Westwood his second straight
Benson and Hedges Malaysian Open title with a second extra hole sudden-
death playoff victory at the Saujana GCC yesterday.
Lurking in the shadows with scores of 70, 69 and 70 after three rounds,
Fryatt turned the tide when he fired an eagle on the par-four 17th to
finish the final round on three-under 69 to tie Westwood, who also
finished with a 69, at 10-under 278.
His drive at the 360-yard hole was wind-assisted, and Fryatt made the
putt for an eagle two.
In sudden-death play, both Fryatt and Westwood parred the par-four 10th
but at the par-five 18th, Westwood gambled and used a driver for his
second shot.
His ball ended up in a palm tree and he only reached the green in five.
Westwood was penalised with a lost ball and had to go back 250 yards.
He then missed the putt and immediately conceded the hole and title to
Fryatt, who was safely on in three.
"For a player like Westwood to get the ball stuck up a tree is a fluke.
You would be talking to him now if he had pulled off the second shot with
a driver," said Fryatt.
Fryatt birdied the 4th, 10th, 12th and 16th but double-bogeyed the fifth
and had a bogey on the eighth.
"You could say the eagle was the turning point bacause I was playing a
relaxed game. Nothing flashy or fantastic, in fact I missed many birdie
opportunities on the front nine and most of them were about six yards from
the hole and just refused to go in.
"Right now I will be concentrating on the British and the United States
Open qualifiers after the Singapore, Myanmar and India Opens."
Fryatt's first international win was the Indonesian Open in 1996 with a
13-under 271 total. Last year, he won the Indian Open with a 272 total.
The Englishman still holds the course record for the Royal Calcutta Golf
Course with a nine-under 63.
For Westwood, his bogey at the 360-yard, par-four 17th was the one that
cost him the title.
When asked if he would still use a driver if faced with the same
situation: "It was the right decision at the time, and yes, I would use a
driver again if faced with the same shot."
The Saujana touring pro had birdies on the fifth, sixth, eighth, 14th
and 18th holes. His other bogey was on the 10th.
"My contract with Saujana will expire next year but I might come back
again," said Westwood.
PRIZE MONEY - Edward Fryatt (Eng) US$50,000; Lee Westwood (Eng)
US$33,000; Kang Wook Soon (SK) US$16,800; Christian Chernock (US)
US$16,800; Paul McGinley (Ire) US$12,600. Final round scores
278 Edward Fryatt (Eng) 70-69-70-69, Lee Westwood (Eng) 70-72-67-69
(Fryatt won sudden death playoff on 2nd extra hole); 279 Kang Wook Soon (S
Kor) 72-73-66-68, Christian Chernock (US) 68-71-71-69; 280 Paul McGinley
(Ire) 70-69-71-70; 282 Rodrigo Cuello (Phi) 69-71-73-69, Felix Casas (Phi)
71-69-75-67, Frankie Minoza (Phi) 71-66-74-71.
283 Marty Schiene (US) 72-71-69-71, Mike Cunning (US) 73-69-74-67,
Phillip Jonas (Can) 68-69-73-73; 284 Bobby Elliott (US) 70-72-71-71, Park
Nam Sin (S Kor) 77-69-69-69, Tom Kalinowski (US) 68-70-71-75; 285 Choi
Kyoung Ju (S Kor) 72-72-70-71, Thomas Bjorn (Den) 70-73-71-71, Jerry Smith
(US) 71-69-72-73, Choi Sang Ho (S Kor) 65-75-72-73, David Morland (Can)
286 Brian Guetz (US) 72-72-70-72, Gerry Norquist (US) 71-71-71-73, Bobby
Kalinowski (US) 73-69-75-69, Yasuharu Imano (Jpn) 70-72-68-76, Randy Wylie
(US) 70-71-72-73, Chang Tse-Peng (Tai) 68-71-75-72; 287 Mike Tschetter
(US) 71-75-72-69, Scott Rowe (HK) 68-72-72-75; 288 Ian Garbutt (Eng) 70-
73-71-74, Nam Young Woo (S Kor) 72-71-73-72, Rick Todd (Can) 72-69-73-74,
Stuart Holmes (NZ) 73-68-75-72, Hajime Tanaka (Jpn) 74-73-72-69, Danny
Mijovic (Can) 74-73-74-67, Raul Fretes (Par) 69-69-72-78.
289 Hsieh Yu-Shu (Tai) 73-70-73-73, Jerry Wood (US) 72-73-71-73, Grant
Masson (US) 72-70-74-73, Vivek Bhandari (Ind) 67-71-74-77; 290 Chris
Tidland (US) 72-72-74-72, Jim Rutledge (Can) 73-70-76-71, Kyi Hla Han
(Myr) 72-70-75-73, Hideto Shigenobu (Jpn) 71-72-73-74, Choi Gwang Soo (S
Kor) 78-68-72-72, Gary Murphy (Ire) 72-74-72-72, Tim Straub (US) 76-71-74-
69; 291 Darren Clarke (Ire) 72-72-70-77, Kim Jong Duk (S Kor) 75-70-71-75,
Jeff Bloom (US) 71-71-74-75.
292 Rafael Ponce (Ecu) 72-73-72-75, Mardan Mamat (Sin) 71-74-76-71, Eric
Epperson (US) 68-73-79-72, Juan Nutt (Ven) 74-73-75-70; 293 Shin Yong Jin
(S Kor) 69-74-75-75, Satoshi Ishigaki (Jpn) 78-68-75-72, Stuart Andrew
(Eng) 76-71-77-69, Park No Seok (S Kor) 76-71-73-73; 294 Clay Devers (US)
71-74-74-75, Ken Duke (US) 75-72-75-72.
295 Danny Zarate (Phi) 73-73-74-75, Hyun Choi (Aus) 73-73-76-73; 296 S
Murthy (Mas) 72-72-74-78; 297 P Gunasegaran (Mas) 73-73-78-73, Rob Moss
(US) 75-72-77-73; 298 Hidezumi Shirakata (Jpn) 72-74-76-76, Ted Gleason
(US) 75-72-75-76; 299 Derek Crawford (Sco) 74-73-77-75; 300 Carlos Larrain
(Ven) 76-70-79-75; 303 Hong Chai-Yuh (Tai) 73-73-75-82, R Nachimuthu (MAS-
am) 77-75-74-77; 304 Brian Quinn (US) 72-75-77-80; 307 Todd Barranger (US)

Open title still an elusive crown for Malaysian pros


EUROPE have Lee Westwood, America Tiger Woods but Malaysia still appear to
be lost in the woods.
For 36 years, our band of pros have trudged from green to green,
swinging and putting for that elusive Malaysian Open crown but, just as in
previous years, the record books show yet another blank.
Only three locals made the 147 halfway cutoff mark while 20 others fell
by the wayside this year.
American, European, Japanese and Taiwanese pros, many of them virtual
unknowns, have made the roll of honour and the million dollar question is
when will a Malaysian win?
Not in the next millennium going by what the Malaysian Professional
Golfers Association (MPGA) have in their fold today.
Leading local pro Ali Kadir came, made a few putts but failed to even
make the cut. On his way out he blamed everyone for his third failure,
including the MPGA and the media.
The MPGA for not providing him enough big meets to prepare for the Open
and the media for reporting that he had played a practice round when he
was supposed to be taking part in the Pro-Am.
"What will my sponsors think about me when they read that I skipped the
Pro-Am but played a practice round. The report disturbed me so much that I
hit a 79," said Ali.
This is the same Ali who walked in sweating and puffing after what he
later claimed "practicing my swing and putts" on the second day of the
Pro-Am and held a media briefing on his chances in the Open.
Then there is M. Ramayah, who was propelled to fame when he won the 1981
Marcos International, beating players like Germany's US Masters champion
Bernhard Langer in the title chase.
The 43-year-old veteran, who has been walking the greens for the last 20
years now, declared this year's edition would be his last.
Making the top-20 would have been nice after two decades of of
competition. One would have thought he would mount a strong challenge,
what with last year's champ Lee Westwood in his first round flight.
ARamayah fizzled out with a two-day 152 total, joining the queue of
Malaysians who failed to make the cut.
When posed that age-old question on what went wrong MPGA general manager
Brig Jen (r) Ron S. Mahendran echoed the exact words that soccer World
Youth Cup coach Hatem Soussi had to describe the state of Malaysian
"We need to go back to the grassroots and build a strong side."
After 36 years in golf and about 75 years in soccer, if we still need to
go back to the grassroots, something is seriously wrong with our
development plans.
On the technical side of things, why can't we have local tournament
director? We have capable officials like A.S. Khamis, Tan Kok Kee and
Mahendran who have one time or another held the post.
Indeed, it is a surprise as the Malaysian Open have always had a local
as tournament director. The late Edmund Yong was for close to two decades
the tournament director. Yong, who died last year, was MGA secretary for
25 years.
Jeremy Kilby may be qualified and knowledgable but the time has come for
a local to fill the post.
One thing about Malaysians, when against the odds, they rally together.
So it was the case when Subang National Golf Club (KGNS) committee members
showed their support to the organisers despite a change in venue.
KGNS women's captain Rafeah Misron, Kapt William Geyzel, Raymond Teoh,
Krish Ramalingam and their band of workers, slogged tirelessly to see the
tournament through.
The Malaysian Golf Club Managers' Association were in full force and
equally heartening was the offer made by rival APGA Tour to assist them
owing to the 11th-hour change.
However, the success story of the tournament was when R. Nachimuthu made
the Best Amateur cut and finished joint 68th with scores of 77-75-74-77.
Nachimuthu and Taiwan's Hong Chi Yuh emerged joint winners of the
amateur category with 15-over 303 totals.

Ganesh storms to a double


SARAWAK'S Chai Song Lip, Penang walker Teoh Boon Lim and Pahang sprinter R. Ghaneswaran shone on the final day of the athletics competition when they rewrote three of the five meet records at the Shah Alam Stadium yesterday.
And they were all not happy with their performances.
Chai, who won the long jump with a record-breaking feat on the opening
day, rewrote his triple jump mark of 14.99m, recorded at the last Games,
to 15.56m to clinch the gold.
However, the 21-year-old Universiti Pertanian Malaysia student was
disappointed as it was below his personal best jump of 15.65m, which he
registered during the national junior Grand Prix last year.
Chai, from Kuching, has been training under Russian coach Sergei
Siderenko in the last four years. His next target is to take a crack at
the 16-metre mark.
Asked if he would be able to break the national mark of 16.29m held by
Zaki Sadri, Chai, who also won two gold medals at the last Games in
Kuantan, said he prefers to take it one step at a time.
Malacca's Malik Tobias took the silver with a leap of 15.14m, which also
bettered the meet record. Ang Chun Lai recorded 14.87 for the bronze.
Teoh, after winning the 20km gold on the opening day, was in superb form to bag the 10,000m in a record 44:05.99. His personal best, which is also the national record, is 42:36.0.
Silver medallist Shahrul Haizy of Kuala Lumpur also bettered the meet
mark when he clocked 45:07.48. Tan Chee Leong of Penang was third in
Ghaneswaran's personal best for the 200m is 21.25s and he only managed to clock 21.38 yesterday, which was good enough for the gold and to break his meet record of 21.57.
At least five metres behind was Hamberi Mahat in 21.74 while the bronze
went to Nazamizan Muhammad of Terengganu in 21.78.
"I had expected to win the gold today because this is my favourite
event. Unlike the 100m, I didn't see the others pose any serious
"The 100m gold is a bonus as this is my last Malaysia Games," said the
computer engineering student from Kuantan.
The other two meet records were in the javelin and women's 400m hurdles.
In the javelin, Sarawak's Kho Mei Kuan charted 61.84m to improve on
Justine James' 61.50m recorded in the 1990 Games.
Selangor's Norsheela Khalid won the 400m hurdles in 61.54s to erase the
previous mark of 62.41 held by Sarawak's Chong Fui Mei, who finished
second this time in 63.16. Norkiah Madel, also from Sarawak, was third in 65.51.
It was a memorable outing for Perak's Carol Lucia Alfred, who won two
more gold medals yesterday to bring her personal tally to four.
Yesterday, she won the women's 200m gold and anchored the 4x400m to
victory. She had earlier won the 400m and 4x100m gold medals.

Muhyiddin slams BBC over false report


YOUTH and Sports Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin yesterday took the
British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) to task for airing a programme
which, among other things, reported the Kuala Lumpur Commonwealth Games on
Sept 11-21 may be shifted to Australia.
The programme cited haze, water shortage, prolonged drought and the
uncompleted Bukit Jalil Sports Complex during a radio broadcast on April
25, 7am local time, as reason enough to move the Games to Australia.
"This is a very foolish statement and coming from a reputable
organisation like the BBC, it sounds very stupid," said Muhyiddin after
chairing the pre-Games meeting in Kuala Lumpur.
Waving a cassette which contained a recording of the broadcast, he said
the Ministry would like to make their stand clear: "Come rain or shine,
the Games will be held in Kuala Lumpur."
"BBC were very irresponsible in airing a programme that has no truth in
it. Sukom Ninety-Eight Bhd (the organisers) and the Malaysian Government
have been working fulltime since we won the bid. Whatever happens, the
show will go on in Malaysia.
"BBC should not have started this baseless rumour."
Muhyiddin said he was interviewed by the BBC on April 17 and made it
clear all the venues will be ready for the Games and that the haze
situation is being tackled by all the Asian countries. Yet, BBC chose to
ignore the Minister's assurance.
"There is an understanding among the Asian countries affected by the
haze to overcome the problem. How sure are BBC that there will be haze in
"BBC should stop playing god.
"It is not logical to say the Games will be shifted to Australia after
the praise showered upon us by the foreign Press and delegations from the
Commonwealth countries that came to inspect the sites and check on our
progress," he said.
"Most were awestruck by the size of the venues and the state-of-the-art
facilities that Malaysia will be providing for the Games.
"I can only say the BBC programme was very `mischevious' in nature and a
stab in the back. The rakyat know what the truth is," said Muhyiddin.
Yesterday was the second time Muhyiddin had to quash rumours about the
Games. On April 1, after a post-Cabinet meeting, Muhyiddin said rumours
the Games will be moved to Australia were baseless.

Pre-Games budget slashed to the minimum


THE pre-Games budget has been slashed from RM4.5 million to RM2.29 million
and according to Youth and Sports Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, that
is as low as they can go.
Of the main budget, Sukom will contribute RM134,000 to ease the burden
of the five associations involved in the pre-Games on July 11-19, who will
each receive RM134,830 for organising their respective sports.
Muhyiddin said the 2,000-odd athletes and officials will be housed at
Block C of the Games Village in Bukit Jalil and will be provided with
nutritional food. The athletes will check in on July 9.
Muhyiddin, after chairing a pre-Games meeting in Kuala Lumpur, said the
tests on athletes, officials, facilities and results systems will offer
valuable feedback to make the Commonwealth Games on Sept 11-21 a success.
"Athletics, aquatics, squash, gymnastics and hockey will be held at
Bukit Jalil during the pre-Games which will also see the Prime Minister
officially open the main stadium," said Muhyiddin.
Hockey and aquatics will be State meets while squash and athletics will
have competitors from Asia competing.
A four-team tournament made up of Kuala Lumpur, Pahang, Perak and the
Project 2001 team will take part in hockey while in squash, it is likely
to an Asian meet.
The pre-Games will also be a test for the doping centre in Penang. "We
will conduct about 10 random tests for a start to test the facilities at
the Universiti Sains Malaysia. We hope to receive endorsement from the
International Olympic Council (IOC) on the doping centre soon."
Asked to comment on the 50 per cent slash in sponsorship for the BA of
Malaysia, Muhyiddin said BAM should learn to live within their means.
"The sponsors (Proton and Edaran Otomobil Malaysia) are not to be blamed
because they have been hit by the economic slowdown. I hope BAM will plan
their programmes properly and only spend on priority tournaments and

Petronas win in nail-biting finish


PETRONAS were made to struggle before snatching a 74-71 win over
Uzbekistan MHSK in the Asian Basketball Confederation (ABC) Championship
at Stadium Negara last night.
The Malaysian team played aggresively in the first half but could not
stamp their superiority as the lanky Uzbeks matched them point for point.
"I had expected a close match but not this close," said Petronas coach
Brian Lester. "The match could have gone either way with 53 seconds on the
clock when Steve Spurlock and Justin Wimmer were just too tired to move.
"Luckily Ng Joo Lay, Chai Tze Yean and the others kept up the pressure."
Petronas were leading 72-71 with 53 seconds remaining. However, luck was
with them when they received a free throw and Toh Chin Thiam made no
mistake to give his side their second win in the championship.
China Hanwei also continued their fine run with a 83-66 win over South
Korea's Hyundai Dynat. It was Hanwei's second straight win following
Sunday's 90-81 victory over Uzbekistan MHSK.
In yesterday's match, Hanwei ran riot with the help of Eric Dortck, who
top-scored with 43 points while teammate Liang Da managed 14. Cho Sung
Wong led Hyundai with 23 points.
"We have been training for two months for this tournament and I am very
happy with the determination shown by the players," said Hanwei coach Lin
Lin Xin is the first woman to coach at the ABC Championship and has an
impressive resume. She has played for China and was voted Asia's best
guard in 1994 and 1995.
She was also in China's Olympic team who won the silver medal at the
1996 Atlanta Games.
At halftime the score was 35-32 with Hyundai getting most of their
points from rebounds. But when Hanwei settled down, they kept passing the
ball to Dortck, who ignited the match.
The one problem that could jeopardise Hanwei's chances is fatigue. With
only nine players suiting up with 12 roster spots to fill, tirednees could
creep in.
In another match, tournament favourites China Regal of Hong Kong
struggled to beat Bangkok Club of Thailand 72-61.
John Spencer topscored for China Regal with 14 points, 11 of them coming
off rebounds. Pramoch Jantaraniyom was Bangkok Club's top scorer with 22
Results: Beeper 150 86 Toshiba Red Thunders 88; China Hanwei 83 Korea
Hyundai Dynat 66; China Regal 72 Bangkok Club 61; Petronas 74 Uzbekistan
Today: MHSK v Panasia (4.0); Regal v Toshiba (5.45); Beijing v Petronas
(7.30); Al-Riadi v Beeper (9.15).

China Hanwei continue fine run


CHINA Hanwei continued their fine run in the Asian Basketball
Confederation (ABC) championship when they beat Korea's Hyundai Dynat 83-
66 at Stadium Negara yesterday.
It was Hanwei's second straight win, following Sunday's 90-81 victory
over Uzbekistan MHSK.
Yesterday, Hanwei ran riot with the help of Eric Dortck, who topscored
with 43 points while teammate Liang Da had 14 points.
Cho Sung Wong led Hyundai with 23 points.
"We have been training for two months for this tournament and I am very
happy with the determination shown by the players," said Hanwei coach Lin
Lin Xin is the first woman to coach at the ABC championship and has an
impressive resume to back it up. She has played for China and was voted
the best guard in Asia in 1994 and 1995.
She was also in China's Olympic team who won the silver medal at the
1996 Atlanta Games.
"I am still new to the team but I can safely say we will not finish
empty-handed," she said.
The halftime score was 35-32 with Hyundai getting most of their points
from rebounds. But when Hanwei finally settled down, they gave the ball to
Dortck, who lit up the arena.
The one problem that could jeopardise Hanwei's chances is fatigue.
With only nine players suiting up with 12 roster spots to fill,
tirednees could creep in.
Ma Jian, who went to school in Utah, was drafted by the LA Clippers and
said he passed up a 10-day contract with the Dallas Mavericks to play for
China, admitted he played conservatively due to the limited manpower on
the bench.
In another match, tournament favourites China Regal of Hong Kong
struggled to beat Bangkok Club of Thailand 72-61.
John Spencer topscored for China Regal with 14 points, 11 of them coming
off rebounds.
Pramoch Jantaraniyom topscored for Bangkok Club with 22 points.
Results: Beeper 150 86 Toshiba Red Thunders 88; China Hanwei 83 Korea
Hyundai Dynat 66; China Regal 72 Bangkok Club 61.

Petronas caught in a whirlpool


PETRONAS threw away a chance of reaching the semifinals of the Asian
Basketball Confederation (ABC) championship when they were hammered by a
seven-man China Hanwei 90-63 at Stadium Negara yesterday.
Hanwei, who came to KL with nine players, only had two reserves on the
bench as Zhoung Shen Sheng and Liang Da are down with injuries suffered
against South Korea's Hyundai Dynat on Monday. Hanwei won that match 83-
Now Petronas, a Malaysian outfit, are drawn into a do-or-die mission
when they take Hyundai Dynat today.
"Five minutes into the match, I knew that there was no way that we could
beat China Hanwei," said Petronas coach Brian Lester.
"So I started resting the top players and the imports to prepare for our
match against Hyundai tomorrow (today)."
Hanwei coach Li Xin, the first woman to coach an ABC men's team, agrees
that Petronas will have a tough time making the semis.
"The Koreans are a more defensive team than us, so I think it would be
very difficult for Petronas if they play an open game like they did today
(yesterday)," said Lin Xin.
Petronas just could not get their act together in the first 10 minutes
after Hanwei, powered by imports Eric Wilson and Erick Dortck, opened up a
26-15 lead.
With five minutes left in the first half, Petronas' Justin Wimmer tried
to go baseline on the left but was cut off by Dortck who had an easy
breakway slam at the other end to leave Petronas down 40-20.
Chai Tze Kiong and Teh Choon Yean, who had a splendid outing against
Uzbekistan MHSK on Monday, were lost as the game became more aggressive.
With Wimmer seemingly giving his all, Petronas tried to narrow the gap
by shooting three which missed badly.
The first half score stood at 43-26.
When play resumed, Hanwei's Ma Jian and Gong Hai took over from their
imports and Petronas were caught committing cheap fouls and turnovers.
In an earlier match, China Regal of Hong Kong beat Toshiba Red Thunders
of Japan 75-64 for their third straight win. Yung Kam Wah topscored for
Regal with 25 points while Wayman Strickland scored 17 points.
Stephen Bardo scored 19 for Toshiba.
China Regal, the pre-tournament favourites, top Group A with three wins
and are already in the semis.
RESULTS: China Regal 75 Toshiba Red Thunders 64; Uzbekistan MHSK 89
PanAsia 77; Petronas 60 China Hanwei 93.

Petronas throw game away


PETRONAS missed 70 per cent of their free throws and in the process went
down 80-70 to Korea's Hyundai Dynat in the Asian Basketball Confederation
(ABC) championships at Stadium Negara yesterday.
Jay Webb's dunks and accurate three-point shooting by Lian Kwun Fan and
Leung Yuet Ming gave Hyundai Dynat a berth in the semifinals at the
expense of Petronas.
"Poor shooting, silly fouls and defensive errors handed the match to the
Koreans. They were also better with their three-pointers," said Petronas
coach Brian Lester.
Lester singled out Webb as the best player on court, doing most of the
damage near the basket.
"But I must say Ng Joo Lay and Yong Yoon Phin played their best match so
far to keep us in the contest every time the Koreans pulled ahead," he
"We must improve on our free throws which were very poor today
(yesterday). We also have to cut down on our turnovers."
Petronas will now play for fifth place.
Hyundai opened up a 10-6 lead. Then it was Park Jae Hun turn to take
control as he stroked three straight threes in a row as Petronas kept
leaving him open.
With five minutes left in the first half, Webb was awarded a free throw
but missed both. Petronas awoke from their slumber to lead 21-20 and, at
halftime, led 36-34.
When the game resumed, the indications were there that it was going to
be an uphill battle for Petronas to make the last four. Wild passing by
Justin Wimmer allowed the Koreans to open up a nine-point lead at 45-36
four minutes into the half.
Petronas' other American import, Steve Spurlock, appeared to be limping
for much of the match and was a non-factor.
Hyundai Dynat opened up a 10-point lead with seven minutes to play but
Ng continued to drive along the baseline and score after he replaced
It was a close tussle with three minutes left but poor shooting by
Petronas gave Hyundai the game.
Results: Toshiba Red Thunders 74 Bangkok Club 69; PanAsia 80 China
Hanwei 102; Petronas 70 Hyundai Dynat 80; Lebanon Al-Riyadi 82 China Regal

Excitement on and off the greens


AT THE US$300,000 Benson and Hedges Malaysian Open on February 19-22 there
was excitement on and off the greens.
Las Vegas-based Edward Fryatt denied fellow Englishman Lee Westwood his
second straight Benson and Hedges Malaysian Open title with a second extra
hole sudden death playoff victory at the Saujana Golf and Country Club.
Lurking in the shadows with scores of 70, 69 and 70 after three rounds,
Fryatt turned the tide when he fired an eagle on the par-four 17th to
finish the final round on three-under 69 to tie Westwood, who also
finished with a 69, at 10-under 278.
His drive at the 360-yard hole was wind-assisted, and Fryatt made the
putt for an eagle two. In sudden-death play, both Fryatt and Westwood
parred the par-four 10th but at the par-five 18th, Westwood gambled and
used a driver for his second shot.
His ball ended up in a palm tree and he only reached the green in five.
Westwood was penalised with a lost ball and had to go back 250 yards. He
then missed the putt and immediately conceded the hole and title to
Fryatt, who was safely on in three.
"For a player like Westwood to get the ball stuck up a tree is a fluke.
You would be talking to him now if he had pulled off the second shot with
a driver," said Fryatt.
But the win was no fluke as the modest Fryatt later underlined his
position as one of the world"s leading twentysomething golfers with an
accomplished victory in the US$400,000 Volvo China Open at Sunisland
International Club in Shanghai on April 20.
Fryatt fired a six-under 66 to win by two strokes on 19-under 269 from
Japan"s Takeshi Ohyama, who also carded a final round 66.
Fryatt pocketed US$72,000 while Ohyama received US$44,520.
But the 20-odd Malaysians who took part in the Malaysian Open decided
that 36 years was still not a long enough wait for a local to win the
tournament. Only three locals made the 147 halfway cutoff mark while 20
others fell by the wayside this year.
The Malaysian Open, which teed-off for the first time in 1962, has seen
American, European, Japanese and Taiwanese pros, many of them virtual
unknowns, make the roll of honour. The wait for a Malaysian winner still
While Malaysians fared badly on the greens, their organisational skills
are praiseworthy.
When Kelab Golf Negara Subang could not host the tournament, Saujana
Golf and Country Club took over at the 11th hour and their workers had to
work like ants to get the venue ready in two days" time.
Workers, who had just two days to cramp six months work, earnestly got
down to business to welcome about 180 golfers. And they did a splendid
There were many, many things to do but since Saujana was still fresh
from hosting the Open last year, they knew exactly what do do and there
were no complaints of severe short-comings.
Only the two-day pro-am was quite chaotic with last-minute cancellations
and withdrawals. Nonetheless, the organisers saw it through and there were
no complaints from the pros either. They did not get to play on the
championship course - the Palm Course - as the pro-am was held on the
adjacent Bunga Raya Course.
When everything humanly possible was done to make the championship a
success, rain twice disrupted play in the first round, forcing four
flights to be postponed to the next day. But South Korea"s Choi Sang Ho
found the situation ideal and, to the suprise of all, missed the course
record held by Westwood by only a stroke when he posted an impressive
seven-under 65 for the lead.
The 43-year-old Korean sank eight birdies, seven on the front nine and
one on the return trip, to hog the limelight for a brief period.
During the second day of tournament, J. Pragas stopped play briefly.
Six players from Europe and Flagship Marketing decided to donate
RM15,000 to help save his leg after they read his plight in the New
Straits Times.
Pragas, whose parents Muthammah and T. Jayaram are rubber tappers at the
Ladang Bukit Pilah in Rompin, Johor, needed the money to undergo an
operation to save his leg from being amputated.
European Tour players Westwood, Darren Clarke, David Howell, Paul
McGinley, Thomas Bjorn, Stuart Andrew, Ian Garbutt and Flagship Marketing
director Dale Hobson chipped in.
"Most of us are regulars at the Malaysian Open and we have been here
many times before. The Malaysian people have been very kind to us and this
is our way of saying thank you," Clarke said, on behalf of the donors.
J. Pragas, who later underwent a successful bone graft operation to save
his left leg, thanked the European tour golfers and said he would send
them "thank you" cards.
Fryatt triumphed on the greens, but in Pragas" book, the six Europeans
are the true champions.

Thai courage a lesson for Petronas


PETRONAS can only vie for fifth place in the Asian Basketball
Confederation (ABC) championships tomorrow after failing to make the
semifinals on Wednesday night.
Lack of height, poor shooting, inferior in skills ... Petronas coach
Brian Lester's tale of woe goes on and on. One would think they had lost
every match even before stepping onto the court.
Against China Hanwei on Tuesday, the coach readily admitted defeat five
minutes into play and rested all his best players, justifying his reason
as "preparing for the crunch against Hyundai Dynat".
But when the time came to deliver, his players were a sorry lot and had
no determination whatsoever to make the semifinals. Most of them were just
dragging their feet while Hyundai's Jay Webb took the opportunity to do
all the damage from close range.
The Malaysian Basketball Association (MABA) have much to learn, and they
can start by watching Thailand's raw Bangkok Club.
Although they were hammered at every corner, the team - the only outfit
to arrive without foreign imports - took the beatings as a lesson for the
Asian Games in December.
The Thais never stopped chasing for the ball eventhough there was not
even a ghost of a comeback in all their matches. Unlike the Malaysians who
relied heavily on the shoulders of the imports.
If not for American pros Justin Wimmer and Steve Spurlock, Petronas
would not have made it past even Uzbekistan MHSK, whom they edged 74-71.
After the match, Wimmer said he is not here to win matches for Petronas
but to guide the local players: "It is their tournament. Spurlock and I
are here to guide the Malaysians. It is no use if Petronas win the title
but nobody learns from the tournament."
The closest Malaysia came to the title was three years ago when they
finished second behind the Philippines at Stadium Negara. That was also
the year Lester was roped in to prepare the team. Last year they finished
fourth but can now fight for fifth place.
Meanwhile, today's semifinal clash between Lebanon's Al-Riadi and China
Hanwei is expected to be an explosive affair.
Lebanon pulled off a major upset on Wednesday when they beat champions
China Regal 82-80 to edge Japan's Toshiba Red Thunders out of the last
four. All three teams finished with three wins and a draw for seven-point
But based on tournament rules, the scores for and against when the three
teams played against each other were taken into acount. China Regal came
out tops with a 1.61 average and Lebanon were second on 0.986 and Red
Thunders, with an average of 0.951, were squeezed out.
Today - s-finals: China Regal v Hyundai Dynat (7.30); Lebanon Al-Riadi v
China Hanwei (9.15).

RM110,000 shot in arm for MCA


THE National Cricket League and Malaysian Cricket Association (MCA) Cup
yesterday received another shot in the arm from Carlsberg Malaysia, who
handed over RM110,000, their seventh sponsorship in as many years.
After handing in the cheque at the Olympic Council of Malaysia
yesterday, Carlsberg managing director Datuk Jorgen Bornhoft said since
Tunku Tan Sri Imran Tuanku Ja'afar took over the MCA presidency, the
cricket scene in the country has undergone a tremendous change.
"The successful hosting of the ICC Trophy and Super 8s championships is
refletive of MCA's strong organisational ability and their commitment to
promoting and bringing it to the forefront of Malaysian sports," said
The Malaysian cricket team recently took part in the Ramzan Cup in
Karachi and the Wills Cup in Lahore as part of their preparations for the
Commonwealth Games.
And while the team are not expected to cause any upsets among the Test
playing nations at the Games, Tunku Imran sees it more as an avenue to
prepare a base to make Malaysia a Test playing nation by the year 2020.
"When the Sports Minister asked me how Malaysia would fare in the '98
Games, I told him we will finish fifth and the Minister was pleasantly
surprised," quipped Tunku Imran.
As the top four teams will make the semifinals and there won't be
playoffs for the other positions, Malaysia would naturally finish fifth in
the losers pool.
Tunku Imran believes what he saw in the recent Malaysia Games to be the
future of cricket in Malaysia.
"Cricket used to be synonymous with the Indians in Malaysia but that is
no longer the case. At the Malaysia Games there was a balanced mix of
Chinese and Malays and cricketers from Sabah and Sarawak. I see this
healthy mix as a good future for the sport."
On preparations of cricket venues for the Games, Tunku Imran said the
Kilat Club and Bukit Kiara venues are ready while only minor work needs to
be done at the other venues.
The World Super 8s will be held on July 17-19 in KL.

China Regal, Hanwei move into ABC final


CHINA Regal of Hong Kong were sharp and neat in their setpieces to beat
Korea's Hyundai Dynat 77-63 to make the final of the Asian Basketball
Confederation (ABC) Championship at Stadium Negara yesterday.
In the other semifinal, China Hanwei beat Lebanon Al-Riadi 85-80.
Defending champions China Regal didn't allow Hyundai a ghost of a
chance. Everytime Hyundai tried to stage a fightback, Regal shut them out
Only the first five minutes was a close match with Hyundai Dynat's Jay
Webb doing much of the damage but China Regal, with Wayman Strickland and
John Spencer in top form, pulled away 15-10.
"I knew victory was ours 10 minutes into the second half. Our target of
winning the title is now within our reach," said China Regal coach Cheung
Tai Wing.
Hundai Dynat, who beat Petronas to make the semifinals, refused to
concede defeat so early, even though Webb was rested when he started
limping, and matched China Regal point-for-point.
Ng Chu Yip of China Regal surprised the crowd when he sank a three-
pointer almost from centre court and when Yung Kam Wah sank more baskets
to pull away 21-11, Hundai Dynat were in trouble.
China Regal showed why they are the favourites for the crown when they
displayed perfect teamwork to pull away 31-17 10 minutes into the first
Liang Kwun Fan got into the three-points act, coupled with neat slam
dunks by Strickland and China Regal took a commanding 47-29 lead into the
second half.
When play resumed, the match was again a one-sided affair and eight
minutes into the game, Regal opened up a 25 point lead and looked
In the fight for seventh placing, Uzbekistan MHSK made a tremendous
fightback to beat Beeper 150 of the Philippines 88-84.
In another match, PanAsia beat Bangkok Club 72-68 after extra time to
finish second from the bottom.
Bangkok Club finished at the bottom, losing all their group matches.
Petronas meet Toshiba Red Thunders today in the fifth placing at 5.30pm.
The final will be held at 9.0pm.
RESULTS: Uzbekistan MHSK 88 Beeper 150 84; Bangkok Club 68 PanAsia 72;
China Regal 77 Hyundai Dynat 63; China Hanwei 54 Lebanon Al-Riadi 41.
TODAY - 5th placing: Petronas v Toshiba Red Thunders (5.30).
3rd placing: Hyundai Dynat v Lebanon Al-Riadi (7.0).
Final: China Hanwei v China Regal (9.0).

Hanwei take over


ONE country, two systems was the catchphrase of the 1997 handover of Hong
Kong to China.
At the Asian Basketball Confederation (ABC) Championship finals, China
Regal of Hong Kong enacted another handover to China Hanwei at the Stadium
Negara yesterday.
Defending champions Regal just could not stop Hanwei from stealing the
crown 71-70 although they matched them for a better part of the match.
The match was like a bad movie script and had a close ending with
Regal's John Spencer having a golden opportunity to win the crown when he
received a free throw with 10 seconds remaining in the match, but he
bungled both the throws.
Hanwei coach, Li Xin, the first woman to coach an ABC men's side was all
smiles after the win.
"We expected a tough fight and were prepared for it. But suprisingly
Regal decided to take the cautious approach and allow us to dominate the
match," said Li Xin whose side became US$50,000 richer for the win.
The first half was a close affair but China Hanwei never allowed Regal
to take the lead from the start. Liang Da, Hanwei's three specialists
opened up a 14-5 lead four minutes into play. Hanwei looked more confident
and organised with Ma Jian clicking well with their imports Erick Wilson
and Erick Dortck.
Yung Kam Wah of Regal, who top-scored in most of their earlier matches,
gave away easy balls for Ma Jian to basket at the other end of play to
pull further ahead.
He even missed two three-pointers in a row and was clearly off form for
the final.
Ten minutes into the match, play became so cautious that the players
from both sides started walking on court and rarely making any attempts
but three-pointers from a distance.
But two minutes before the first half whistle, Regal found their form
and started scoring. At halftime, Hanwei held a slim 36-34 lead.
When play resumed, Hanwei outclassed Regal and surged ahead 42-32, but
the match looked far from over.
Regal started defending well and scoring at the same time and the score
again came to a close 44-40 with five minutes of the second half gone. But
Hanwei never conceeded the lead since the start.
Meanwhile, the fight for third placing was over as early as seven
minutes into the second half when Lebanon Al-Riyadi, who came close to
toppling China Hanwei in a close and physical semifinals on Friday, opened
up a 66-50 lead against a tired looking Hyundai Dynat.
In the fifth-sixth playoffs, Petronas of Malaysia lost 91-70 to Toshiba
Red Thunders of Japan. At half time the score was 47-37 in favour of Red
The top scorer for Petronas was American Steve Spurlock on 28 points.
Results - Final: China Hanwei 71 China Regal 70; 3rd placing: Lebanon
Al-Riyadi 87 Hyundai Dynat 77; 5th placing: Toshiba Red Thunders 91
Petronas 70.

Foreign imports stand out like a sore thumb


WHEN the Asian Basketball Confederation (ABC) Championship concluded at
the Stadium Negara on Saturday, one point stood out like a sore thumb.
All the teams that took part relied heavily on their foreign imports to
deliver the points, including new champs China Hanwei.
The guiltiest of the lot was Petronas of Malaysia local players who were
seen time and again hanging around the court expecting Americans Justin
Wimmer and Steve Spurlock to score on their behalf.
Granted, that they did not have the height or skills to compete with the
other club players, but it was pathetic to watch them produce a brilliant
flash once in a blue moon and then hide behind the backs of the
A constant show would have earned them praises.
Justin made their duty in the team clear as early as the second match
against Uzbekistan MHSK which Malaysia narrowly won 74-71 when he said
that he and Spurlock are only here to assist and not win matches for
Ng Joo Lay, K. Satyaseelan, Wong Tai Ong, Oh Poh Aik - just to name a
few - are all veterans where basketball is concerned and will probably be
leading the charge when the Asian Games begin in December in Bangkok.
But there was no urgency to learn from the foreigners, instead it looked
like the imports were expected to win the matches for Petronas. Instead,
Wimmer ended up as the topscorer for Petronas and wiser from the ABC
The final was another affair that fizzled out two minutes into play. In
China Regal, who otherwise played like champions in all their earlier
matches. Even when they lost by two points to Lebanon Al-Ryadi in the
prelimanes to deny Toshiba Red Thunders a semis berth, Regal showed more
Then there was the free throw awarded to Regal's John Spencer with 10
seconds remaining on the clock. Spencer, in what must have been tremendous
pressure on his shoulders or just plain poor shooting, ended up as the bad
guy and handed the title to China Hanwei. Petronas could only win the best
sportsmanship award.
ROLL OF HONOUR - Best Sportsmanship Award: Teh Choon Yean (Petronas);
Outstanding Playmaker Award: Wayman Strickland (China Regal); Sixth Man
Award: Elie Nasr (Lebanon Al-Riyadi); Top Scorer Award: Bobby Ray Parks
(Beeper 150); Most Valuable Coach: Felton Sealy (Bangkok Club) and Li Xin
(China Hanwei); Most Valuable Player: Michael Cumberland (Lebanon Al-

Li Xin stands out in a man's world


THE honour of being the first woman to coach an Asian Basketball
Confederation (ABC) men's side also came with the title for China Hanwei's
Li Xin, not to mention the most valuable coach award.
So how did she handle the men?
"I'm an aggressive person and they respect me as a coach. We get along
fine bacause we have the same goal - to win the title," said the 29-year-
old Li Xin before the final against China Regal last Saturday.
One would have to see to believe the way she handled the team. When
Hanwei slackened, Li Xin was always there to motivate the players from the
sidelines, sometimes shouting at the top of her voice.
Life was not always a bed of roses for the former national player, who
represented China at the Barcelona Olympics and won silver for her
After 10 years with the national side and honoured as the Best Guard on
several occassions, Li Xin decided to retire. And when she was approached
to coach Hanwei, a Division Two team in China, she grabbed the opportunity
which she saw as a challenge.
"I only took over the team two months before the ABC tournament and what
you see today is a totally different team."
"(Foreign players) Erik Wilson and Erik Dortck only joined us two days
before the championship and the first two matches were a nightmare.
Gradually we started playing as a team and winning matches."
Li Xin is no stranger to Malaysia having been here four times before to
assist her father, Li Jin Chew, who used to coach China's junior women's
team and who is now coaching in Sabah.
When Hanwei star Ma Jian, was asked how it feels to be coached by a
woman, he replied: "She is as good as any man who has coached me.
Actually, as the tournament progressed, we even forgot that she was a

Cash-strapped Yoong breaks into top 400


ALEX YOONG may have the backing of world renowned racing manager John
Thornburn, who has taken him out of the doldrums to be among the world's
top 500 racers today.
But his budding career is likely to come to an abrupt end. He might not
even finish the Formula Three season in Europe due to financial
"Since I started managing Alex, he has improved beyond everybody's
expectations. From an unknown, he is now the driver to beat in Formula
Three," said Thornburn, who is in Kuala Lumpur with Yoong to secure deals
with Petronas and Redbull.
"When I first met Alex six months ago, he could hardly come out of the
car standing after 20 laps. But today, even after 90 laps, Alex can still
afford to smile and crack jokes."
Thornburn is a racing veteran who started in 1956 and has managed Nigel
Mansell in Formula Ford and Formula Three, former Formula One world
champion Keke Rosberg and a host of notable drivers who have become
household names around the world.
And he predicts that Yoong has a Formula One future, and is prepared to
train him to the top of the podium.
"After six rounds in the British Formula Three championship, I'm now
ranked 373rd out of the world's top 500 racing drivers. This is a first
for Malaysian motorsport history," said Yoong.
Yoong hopes to achieve a ranking within the top 300 by the end of the
"My target this year is to finish in the top eight of the British
Formula Three championship. This will ensure a top 100 world ranking for
me next year as Jonny Kane, the 1996 British F-3 champion, is now ranked
52nd in the world," he said.
"He has even surprised the physical examiners in England with his
remarkable progress in a short span. It would be a pity if Alex has to cut
short and return home due to financial difficulties," said Thornburn.
Yoong is looking to secure STG300,000 to complete the season. For next
year, when he attempts to get his Super Licence and race in Formula One,
he will need about STG450,000.

Queen E's aide impressed with facilities


SHE came on a mission to map out Queen Elizabeth's programme for the
Commonwealth Games and went home impressed.
"I must say that I am impressed with the facilities and everything
points to a great Games. Although I cannot compare Kuala Lumpur with the
other host cities because this is my first Games visit, I am impressed
with what I saw," said Mary Francis, the assistant private secretary to
the Queen.
"Today (yesterday) was just a brief visit (to the Bukit Jalil Sports
Complex) to have a first-hand look at the venues which the Queen will be
visiting during the Games. I'll return at the end of June to finalise the
details and the venues to be visited by the Queen."
The Queen will officiate at the closing ceremony of the KL Games and
will remain for another two days to visit Kuala Lumpur and other parts of
The British entourage included Geoffrey Crawford, Press secretary to the
Queen, and British High Commission second secretary Robin Ord-Smith.
On Britain's preparations for the Games, she said: "All the athletes are
undergoing serious training right now.
"The sport-loving public are making final preparations to visit Malaysia
during the Games and I believe when they come here, they will be equally

Ng downs Looi for q-final berth


KENNY Ng thrashed Looi Hong Ling 9-1, 9-1, 9-2 to make the Under-19
quarterfinals at the Malaysian Junior Open Squash at the Jalan Duta courts
Most other top players, like Nicol and Cheryl David, received byes and
will see action today.
RESULTS (Malaysian unless stated) - Boys' Under-19 1st rd: Mohamed
Norizan bt Chua Ken Jim 9-5, 9-2, 9-1; Looi Hong Ling bt Mohamed Fairuz 9-
1, 9-4, 6-9, 7-9, 9-4; 2nd rd: Kane Ingham (Aus) bt Mohamed Norizan 9-0,
9-1, 9-1; Ng Teng Kuang (Sin) bt Lai Wei Leong 7-9, 9-1, 9-1, 9-5; Ray
Paramalingam bt Ashadi Hadana (Bru) 9-4, 1-9, 9-7, 0-7; Teng Kean Guan bt
Kenny Khoo 9-4, 9-0, 9-4; Low Kok Ping bt Mihir Kapor 9-4, 9-0, 9-10, 9-5;
Wong Wan Shan bt Tam Wern Sern 9-6, 9-0, 9-2; Oh Poh Kwang (Sin) bt Mak
Wai Ying 9-6, 9-0, 9-1; Kenny Ng bt Looi Hong Ling 9-1, 9-1, 9-2.
Under-16 1st rd: Kong Xuan bt Mohamed Masirwan 9-0, 9-6, 9-1; Kenny Khoo
bt Jonathan Faurillo 9-1, 9-1, 9-2; Eugene Ho bt Ahmad Saifuddin 9-4, 9-3,
9-0; Mohamed Norshahidan bt Theng Thong Sern 8-10, 9-0, 9-3, 4-9, 9-7; 2nd
rd: Marcus Yeap bt Kong Xuan 9-4, 9-1, 9-1; Aaron Chee bt Faduka Jayanath
(Sri Lanka) 9-1, 4-9, 9-0, 9-7; Kenny Khoo bt Joel Ong (Sin) 9-4, 9-4, 9-
2; Navin Samarasinghe (Sri Lanka) bt Eugene Ho 9-1, 9-1, 9-0; Kelvin Ho bt
Jonathan Gomic 9-0, 9-4, 9-2; Ray Paramalingam bt Liaw Wai Leong 9-5, 9-7,
9-1; Looi Fon Sow bt Tan Wern Sern 9-5, 9-4, 4-9, 10-8; Junaidi Nanthani
bt Mohamed Norshahidan 9-1, 9-0, 9-0.
Under-14 1st rd: Soo Pak Wai (HK) bt Leong Jinn Meng 9-2, 9-0, 9-2;
Azmir Abdullah bt Timothy Arnold 7-9, 9-7, 10-8, 9-1; Mihir Seth (Ind) bt
William Yeoh 9-3, 9-3, 9-0; Anurag Gill (Ind) bt Nathan Raja 10-8, 9-7, 0-
9, 9-6; Harin Perera (Sri Lanka) bt Clovita Supsup 4-9, 9-2, 10-8, 8-10,
10-9; Roger Loh bt Hasnul Hashimi 9-7, 9-3, 9-2; Joshua Sam bt Bryan
Faurillo 9-1, 9-10, 10-9, 9-6; Theng Tong Sern bt Mohamed Fadzly 9-3, 9-0,
9-3; Sebastian Faurillo w.o. Woo Yew Hong; Sahil Vohra (Ind) bt Mohamed
Nafzahizan 9-0, 9-1, 9-6; Auloke Mathur (Ind) bt Mohamed Shahril 9-3, 9-3,
9-0; Siddath Suchde (Ind) bt Satyasilan Raja 9-3, 9-1, 9-6; Kong Xuan bt
Khairul Rohaizat 9-3, 9-1, 9-6; Ashwin Nesan bt Mohamed Zulharly 9-3, 9-1,
2nd rd: Soo Pak Wei bt Azmir Abdullah 9-1, 9-1, 9-0; Mihir Seth bt Jude
Foo 9-0, 9-4, 9-0; Anurag Gill bt Harin Perera 9-3, 9-0, 9-3; Roger Loh bt
Joshua Sam 9-7, 9-7, 9-0; Theng Tong Sern bt Sebastian Faurillo 9-1, 9-2,
9-5; Sahil Vohra bt Fabian Faurillo 9-1, 9-1, 9-1; Siddarth Suchde bt
Auloke Mathur 9-7, 9-1, 9-5; Ashwin Nesan bt Kong Xuan 9-7, 9-2, 10-9.
Under-12: Rushaph Vora (Ind) bt William Yeoh 9-0, 9-5, 10-8; Clavito
Supsup bt Azfar Azan 9-6, 9-7, 2-9, 9-6; Karan Path Sethi (Ind) bt Amos
Chee 9-0, 9-2, 9-0; Mohamed Afrizal bt Leong Jinn Cheok 9-1, 10-8, 9-0.
Girls' Under-19 1st rd: Tan Hui Shan (Sin) bt Lum Shih Loong 9-6, 9-3,
9-0; Geraldine Read bt Tan Chin Wee (Sin) 9-2, 9-0, 9-2; Tricia Chuah bt
Vicki Hee (Sin) 9-7, 9-3, 9-2; Serena Lee (Sin) bt Leong Yi Mun 9-1, 9-0,
9-0; Tan Wah Siew (Sin) bt Kong Yi Zhen 7-9, 7-9, 10-8, 9-5, 9-7.

KMC thrash hapless Tenaga


FAIZAL Maadun and Sharizal Shamsuddin of Klang Municipal Council (KMC)
scored two goals each to beat Tenaga Nasional 5-0 in a replay of the
National Junior League at the Tun Razak Stadium yesterday.
In their earlier encounter, KMC and Tenaga shared points after a 1-1
draw but KMC lodged a protest and the technical committee ordered a
replay. KMC were not happy when umpire Yasin Mahoon, who blew for a
penalty corner but Tenaga continued playing and scored a goal, changed his
mind and blew for goal instead.
Yesterday, Tenaga looked like they were not interested in the replay and
allowed KMC to run circles around their goalkeeper Mohamed Fadzli.
Faizal scored in the fifth minute when he executed a beautiful reverse
stick shot that went crashing into the to net and in the 40th Azman Ali
made a solo run from the centre and passed to an unmarked Sharizal who
hammerd in KMC's second.
Faizal got his name on the scoresheet again seven minutes later when he
outsmarted Tenaga defenders for a comfortable 3-0 lead and in the 65th
minute, Sharizal made it 4-0.
Geeveraj Nethaji sealed the match for KMC with a 67th minute goal but it
made no difference as KMC are still in eighth spot on the standings while
Tenaga also remained static second from the bottom.