Singapore’s Yi Chye Ngo and Hong Kong’s Wing Fai Tse won their first international racketlon singles titles in the lower classes at the CHA Thailand Open.
Ngo won a title on his racketlon debut while for Tse it was a title at his third tournament.
Current +60 World Champion Peter Sakovics took home the +40 Seniors title while former +55 World Champion Martyn Langston won the +55 Seniors title at the Ambassador City Jomtien Hotel in Pattaya.
Men’s B: Success for Singapore
With five debutants in the Men’s B, there was always a strong chance that we would get a first-time winner. Singapore’s Si Chye Ngo was the man to emerge triumphant, battling through the eight-man field on his debut.
Ngo opened with a win over Hong Kong’s Bridge Yan Kiu Lam, needing just two going into tennis. He followed that up with a semi-final defeat of No.2 seed Tang Hon Leung. A 21-0 badminton result was the catalyst for this result as he reached the final in his first tournament.
In the final, he faced another debutant, India’s Shivashish Behera. Behera had to work extremely hard to reach get through to the final. The opening round saw him take on Finnish top seed Seppo Raiski. Behera did most of the work across the front two sports, but a 21-5 squash loss left him having to battle in tennis.
His semi-final was equally tight against Hong Kong’s Victor Tak Lung Wong. As with the first set, his badminton was key, winning 21-4 to make up for the 21-8 table tennis loss. Eventually, Behera made the final by eight points.
In the final, the Indian raced ahead with a 21-9 table tennis victory. Ngo took control from here though. The Singapore star won badminton 21-3, meaning he just dropped six points across his three matches. That badminton quality was the difference as Ngo went on to win the title, a superb start to his racketlon career.
No.2 seed Tang Hong Leung took bronze, winning the all-Hong Kong clash against Victor Tak Lung Wong.
Men’s C: Hong Kong Dominate as Tse Wins First Title
The 12-player Men’s C category had five Hong Kong players, followed by one from Sweden, Singapore, India, Great Britain, Thailand, Hungary and Germany. It was Hong Kong who dominated things here though, with four of their players making it to the semi-finals.
Hei Nam Lee and Percival Cheng collided in the first semi-final. It was Cheng who weathered a superb fightback from Lee to advance to the final. Cheng led by 32 points before squash but with Lee winning squash 21-2 and tennis 16-9, the end result was only a +6 win for Cheng.
The second semi-final was fought between Bong Tai Shu and Wing Fai Tse. The latter’s 21-2 table tennis win was the crucial result in this match. Shu battled back to trail by just one into tennis. However, Tse’s 21-10 tennis win was enough to see him reach the final.
The table tennis was a tight set, with Tse edging it 21-18. The pendulum swung in Cheng’s favour though, a 21-0 bagel in badminton handing him the advantage. Tse battled back though, using his racketlon experience to win 21-10 and 21-8, sealing the trophy with a six-point win.
Hei Nam Lee completed the all-Hong Kong podium with a +21 win over Bong Tai Shu.
Seniors +40: Sakovics Superb in Asia
Peter Sakovics is a legend of the sport, recently becoming the +60 World Champion. So it’s little surprise to still see him testing himself by competing in the +40 rather than +55 Senior Singles at the CHA Thailand Open.
The top seed took out Men’s C finalist Percival Cheng in the first round before blowing Great Britain’s Adrian Ng apart before tennis. In the final, Sakovics would face Indian debutant, Biren Mahendra Shah. The World Champion actually trailed after badminton, winning the table tennis 21-8 but getting bagelled in the badminton to trail by eight.
The Hungarian showed his quality though, dropping just five more points to win 21-3 and 12-2, a +20 victory in the final. A perfect start to the season for Sakovics who adds another trophy to his enormous trophy cabinet.
India’s Gourav Rakshit finished third, defeating Adrian Ng in the third-place playoff.
Seniors +55: Langston Opens Season in Style
Seven players, six countries. The Seniors +55 category was the most diverse of any at the tournament. Divided into two groups, the winners of each group would collide in the final.
Martyn Langston won the top seed and also the champion of Group A. The Brit was not troubled by Peter Savige and Per Franklin Nielsen, the other two players in his group. Langston won six of his seven sets to advance to the final.
Group B was a marginally closer affair but, once again, it was the seeded player who advanced. Finland’s Seppo Raiski saw off the challenge of Gunnar Bord, Nattawee Sucandharuna and Bob Tink to progress through to the final.
The two met in the World Team Championships back in November, with Langston winning that match fairly comfortably. It would be a similar story in Thailand. After losing the table tennis 21-13, the Brit took control. 21-12 and 21-11 were his badminton and squash scores, leaving him needing just 12 in tennis. One of the Senior circuits best tennis players, Langston won 12-4 to seal a first trophy of the year.
Per Franklin Nielsen defeated Gunnar Borg to win bronze.
The report from the elite categories at the CHA Thailand Open is available here.
The full results from the CHA Thailand Open are available here.
The full 2020 FIR World Tour and Challengers are available here, with every tournament open to anyone who wishes to compete.
Sam Barker / FIR Media Officer
Image Credit / Frank Kleiber