At long last, after 37 years, Malaysia won the coveted All-England Men's Singles crown from mighty China. And it was won by "unseeded" Muhamed Hafiz Hashim, the recent Commonwealth Games Gold Medalist, over top-seeded Chen Hong, whom he beat in straight games of 17-14 and 15-10 in 53 min. Tan Aik Huang last won it in 1966! Except for the newly-crowned Lee Chong Wei, who was knocked out in the first round by experienced Ng Wi of Hong Kong and second-seeded Wong Choon Hann, who was unfortunately defeated by unseeded compatriot, Yong Hock Kin, 15-9. 15-5 in 40 minutes in the second round, all the other Malaysian players acquitted themselves relatively well. Unfortunate for Wong because Yong must be very familiar with Wong's game, having trained together within the Malaysian camp for years. Yong was himself rather unfortunate subsequently to meet fellow countryman and eventual winner, Hafiz, in the quarter-finals and lost 6-15, 10-15 in 40 min. Hafiz went on to scalp another Chinese, Chen Yu, in the semi-finals with a score of 15-12, 15-12 in 48 min to set up a golden encounter with Chen Hong and made his mark in Malaysian and All-England Badminton history with his illustrious victory! As fate would have it, it would have seemed that the Malaysians had "plotted" the downfall of Chen Hong. During the quarter-finals, Lee Tsuen Seng almost defeated Chen when he went down narrowly in three games of 4-15, 17-16 and 11-15 and engaged Chen in a marathon 89 min. And Hafiz's elder brother, Roslin aged 27, added to Chen's "torture" in the semis with 70 min before succumbing 16-17 and 6-15. Therefore, it was left to the younger Hafiz, aged 20, to demolish Chen in a relatively shorter time! Not to demean Hafiz, who has trained very hard after his defeat at the recent Thailand Open and took to the All-England with measured stride and self-confidence. I like his positive mental attitude towards the competition. Of particular note is that both the Hashim brothers, Roslin and Hafiz, are actually from the famous professional club, Nusa Mahsuri, where the Sidek brothers esp. Misbun and Rashid, are the chief coaches and certainly have a hand in developing Roslin and Hafiz. When Misbun became the Malaysian Chief Singles coach, the two Hashim brothers were allowed to train together with the rest of the BAM players. Yong was an "independent" player but was also allowed to train in the same camp as he was ex-national player and coach. It would appear that Misbun had passed his first test as chief coach with flying colours although the bigger prize is the Thomas Cup. We can't say the same for chief doubles coach, Yap Kim Hock, although his top doubles pair of Chan Chong Ming and Chew Choon Eng, who were surprisingly seeded second, were unfortunate to retire in their first match in the second round owing to an ankle injury sustained by Chew(?). Veterans, Choong Tan Fook and Lee Wan Wah managed to qualify for the quarter-finals but lost to first-seeded, Jens Eriksen & Martin Lundgaard Hansen of Denmark, 10-15 and 8-15 in 38 min. All said, it seems the lesser the politics within BAM, the better the results. Hope the current situation will continue to prevail to allow the coaches the "freedom" to mould their players and bring back the Thomas Cup to Malaysian shores once more. My congratulations to Hafiz and may he continue to train harder and maintain his good form both physically and mentally.