Asian Games: Third gold for Hong Kong guaranteed in squash as Leo Au and Max Lee reach men’s final in thrilling style
Both players pull off incredible fightbacks from 2-0 down in their semi-finals to make the final in Jakarta
Hong Kong are guaranteed a third Asian Games gold and a further silver medal to add to their tally after both of the city’s squash players completed incredible comebacks from two games down in their semi-final matches to set up an all-Hong Kong finale.
First, Leo Au Chun-ming performed an incredible comeback in his semi-final clash against India’s Saurav Ghosal, the world No 12, winning 10-12, 11-13, 11-6, 11-5, 11-6 to secure his passage to the final.
Then Max Lee Ho-yin gave Malaysia’s Mohd Adnan a two-game lead of his own before storming back 5-11, 6-11, 11-5, 11-5, 11-9 to ensure Hong Kong will claim occupy the two top steps of the podium after the men’s final at the Jakarta Convention Centre on Sunday.
Hong Kong on Saturday also won their first bowling medal when the men’s six team took silver behind South Korea and ahead of Taiwan in Palembang.
In Jakarta, the 28-year-old Au was an embodiment of stoicism during his match and after his amazing comeback, saying three sentences in English and ending each in “try my best”.
“Even when I was 2-0 down, I didn’t think I was going to lose and I just had to try my best,” said Au. “I knew I had to do something to win so I just tried my best.”
When asked about the final, he said: “It’s going to be hard whoever I play, I just have to try my best.”
The 30-year-old Lee, in contrast, was happy to chat in front of the cameras and again with the written media after his match. He admitted he had no idea what hit him in the first two games.
“’I had no clue how to play him in the first two games,” said Lee. “He was just too good and the coaches were surprised that I lost the first two so easily.
“But then I played much better. I put in a lot of hard work in training and that all came out today. I didn’t want to think too negatively, I just moved on and thought good things and kept playing my game and managed to win.
“It’s going to be a great game tomorrow. Sometimes Au beats me and sometimes I beat him but at this stage, it’s not as important as Hong Kong winning gold and silver.”
Former Hong Kong squash player Faheem Khan, who coaches both players, said Au and Lee will not have anyone in their corner when they play the final on Sunday.
“They are all playing under one flag, and that is the Hong Kong flag,” said Faheem.
He said that he was confident Au would win his match after his opponent appeared to run out of steam after the first two games, both of which went to tiebreakers.
“He’s a quiet guy and doesn’t show much emotion,” said Faheem. “In the first two games, Ghosal played a very fast pace and Au does not like that at all.
“After that he was able to dictate the pace and in his mind I don’t think he ever thought he would lose.”
Faheem said he told Au to remember his victory over Egypt’s former world number one Ramy Ashour at last year’s Hong Kong Open.
“He beat the former world number one,” said Faheem. “If he can do that, he can beat this guy.”
In the bowling, Lau Kwun-ho, Mak Cheuk-yin, Tse Chun-him, Tseng Tak-hin, Wong Kwan-yuen and Wu Siu-hong scored 8,175 points to finish second behind South Korea’s 8,540 with Taiwan third on 8,166.
In badminton, the mixed doubles pair of Tang Chun-man and Tse Ying-suet ensured Hong Kong of a bronze by reaching the semi-finals with a 21-13, 22-20 victory over Thailand’s Dechapol Puavaranukroh and Sapsiree Taerattanachai.
In men’s singles, Vincent Wong Wing-ki beat Wang Tzuwei 21-12, 16-21, 21-13 while Ng defeated Sri Lankan Dinuka Karunaratna 21-6, 21-14.