by Mike Grossman (from reports filed by Mike and Mimi Lau and YANG YANG Badminton Equipment)

November 10, 1996 (New SHuttlenws) - The badminton men's doubles bronze medalists from the Atlanta Olympics, Antonius (Iriantho) and Denny Kantono of Indonesia, today turned the tables on the silver medalists, Cheah Soon Kit and Yap Kim Hock of Malaysia, in the championship match of the Hong Kong Open at the Queen Elizabeth Stadium in Hong Kong.

The Malaysians were completely off-form today and were beaten by the Indonesian pair in a 30-minute match that lacked the usual high excitement level of a men's doubles matchup between a top Indonesian pair and a world-class Malaysian combination.

The match was competitive only in the early stages of the first game when both sides were tied at 3-all. The usually overpowering Malaysian smash attack turned ineffective against the quick-reflexed A-and-K pair who dug out and blocked back most Malaysian smashes and kills. Antonius and Kantono often were able to turn defense into attack and then score on smashes that found the off-form Malaysians helpless, specially on shots aimed in between the two Malaysians.

The Indonesians stormed into the lead after breaking the 3-all deadlock. Cheah and Yap struggled to score some points and narrow the gap at 6-11 but A-and-K then managed to stop the Malaysian scoring and tallied 4 of their own to claim the first game at 15-6.

In the second game, Antonius and Kantono seized an early lead before Cheah and Yap scored two points. Leading at 6-2, A-and-K then blistered the Malaysian pair and tallied the next 8 markers to get to match point.

With their backs to the proverbial wall, Cheah and Yap stiffened their defenses and managed to retrieve the serve. The Malaysians tallied a point to bring the score to 14-3 in favor of A-and-K, but that was all the scoring the off-form Olympic silver medalists from Malaysia could muster today. The A-and-K pair closed out the game at 15-6 to clinch the Hong Kong Open championship.

In the women's doubles final, Marlene Thomsen and Lisbet Stuer-Lauridsen of Denmark defeated the Indonesian pair of Isoliana Indarti and Denyana Lomban 15-9 and 15-12 to become the 1996 Hong Kong Open titleholders.

(e-mail: shuttlenws@badminton.org)