Hong Kong Open

Malaysia's best book Open date

PUBLISHED : Friday, 05 November, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 05 November, 1999, 12:00am

Indonesia's Budiarto Sigit, who last year helped his country secure victory in the Thomas Cup final in the SAR, will play in this month's cash-strapped Hong Kong Open.

Sigit, who teamed up with Candra Wijaya to give Indonesia an unassailable 3-1 lead and his country's 11th Thomas Cup title, has been included in a second-string Indonesian squad for the event.

This year's Open has been demoted to a one-star event, a far cry from last year when it boasted five-star status and more than $1.3 million in prize money.

Only $232,000 will be on offer in the tournament, which celebrates its 15th anniversary with no major sponsor.

Although Indonesia and China will be sending second-string teams, Malaysia have opted to send their best players to Hong Kong.

The Malaysian squad include three members of the team who reached the Thomas Cup final here.

Top singles hope Yong Hock Kin and former world number-one men's doubles team Cheah Soon Kit and Yap Kim Hock will spearhead a 13-strong Malaysian squad who look, on paper, to have the credentials to dominate the men's singles and doubles.

The lack of star players will also provide the opportunity for Hong Kong players to shine in the tournament. Last year, local female player Ling Wan-ting, then 18, became the first Hong Kong player to reach the quarter-finals of a five-star event.

Ling has also been included in this year's squad, to be led by top men's hope Tam Kai-chuen.

Despite the event's lower rating, more than 162 players from 15 countries will compete, including players from Poland and Germany.