Eden projects Chelsea to within days of taking EPL title

Chelsea's Eden Hazard in action with Manchester United's Wayne Rooney

CHELSEA 1 MANCHESTER UNITED 0

Chelsea have one hand on the Barclays Premier League title after Eden Hazard knocked Manchester United out of the reckoning in the leaders' 1-0 win at Stamford Bridge.

Jose Mourinho's third Premier League title and Chelsea's first for five years could be just 11 days away after Hazard's 38th-minute strike sent the Blues 10 points clear of second-placed Arsenal.

Mourinho has taken a game-by-game approach to the season and will refuse to get ahead of himself, but win at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday week and Chelsea could be crowned champions at Leicester three days later.

Arsenal would have five games to play, but the Blues would have an unassailable 16-point lead and clinch the self-proclaimed Special One's third English championship following his successes in 2005 and 2006.

United, who began the day eight points behind, dominated the opening period, but their only chance of note saw Wayne Rooney shoot narrowly wide.

Hazard then showed why he is favourite for the PFA Player of the Year prize, netting his 18th goal of the season on the counter-attack following Oscar's fine flick.

- PA Sport

K.O... Then gold

Singapore's 
last SEA Games 
boxing gold medallist Mukhlis shares his comeback story to inspire 
the current crop

END THE DROUGHT: Mohammed Mukhlis Amat (left), who won a SEA Games boxing gold in 1985 after getting knocked out in the 1983 final, believes current boxers like Ridhwan Ahmad (right) can end Singapore's 30-year gold drought.


He holds the distinction of being the last Singaporean to win a SEA Games boxing gold medal, when he triumphed in Bangkok in 1985.

Yet, one regret still rankles Mohammed Mukhlis Amat to this day.

Two years before his victory in Thailand, he found himself moments away from bagging a gold medal in front of a partisan home crowd at Ngee Ann Polytechnic.

But, being a rash 19-year-old then, he fell victim to the folly of blind youth aggression.

Despite outclassing his Thai opponent Sunruay Mongson for most of the bout, Mukhlis was not content to win on points and wanted to knock his opponent out.

But, as the Singaporean southpaw went for the jugular, Sunruay delivered a blow that floored the youngster and had him out for the count.

Mukhlis' dream of winning gold on home soil went up in smoke.

"Till this day, that's one of my biggest disappointments," the 51-year-old told The New Paper in a recent interview at the Farrer Park Boxing Gym, where he spent countless hours in the '80s and '90s.

"I was young, inexperienced, and full of energy... But in the end, I was the one who got knocked out.

"That final is still so vivid to me. The home crowd at Ngee Ann Polytechnic was so passionate, and I also remember seeing my late father in the crowd during the match."

A Straits Times report in 1983 headlined "Mukhlis just minutes away from glory and gold", stated that he was "clearly ahead on points" after two rounds, only to be KO-ed by a punch to the abdomen two minutes before the bout was scheduled to end.

Mukhlis was stretchered out of the ring as Sunruay celebrated his big win.

As if the agony of defeat was not enough, Mukhlis also suffered physically long after the match.

"That KO was the worst injury I've gotten from boxing," said the physical training instructor.

"I could not walk properly for weeks after that. I would walk a while, then feel tired and a little dizzy.

"I went to doctors and they did all the scans and checks they could, but found nothing.

"Lastly, I went for a traditional Malay massage my father recommended, and that worked."

From having picked up boxing just to take part in an inter-squad competition while serving as a full-time national serviceman with the police force, boxing became his sole focus.

He put his heart and soul into fighting for redemption at the 1985 Games after that bitter 1983 defeat.

FOCUS

He even quit his job as a delivery clerk and cut down on his daily expenses, so he could spend more hours training to become a better boxer.

The sacrifices paid off.

At the 1984 Asean championship in Manila, Mukhlis won gold after dumping Filipino Ernesto Coronel and won the Flash Elorde Trophy for being the best boxer of the tournament.

In 1985, he stunned the boxing-crazy Thais by beating home favourite Tawaeet Islam on points, to finally claim a SEA Games gold medal.

"When you fight, you have to strategise, and after I watched him (Tawaeet) in his semi-final bout, I knew I could beat him," said Mukhlis.

"The bout went according to plan, but the painful lesson of 1983 was always at the back of my mind throughout, and made sure I didn't get complacent or over-confident.

"When the match ended, I was close to tears. I had put all my focus on boxing for the previous two years.

"I can still remember myself on that podium, seeing the Singapore flag raised and hearing the national anthem. I cannot describe the feeling."

After his exploits in Bangkok, Mukhlis competed at the 1986 Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh, Scotland, where he lost in the quarter-finals to Northern Ireland's Damien Denny.

Then, because of personal reasons, Mukhlis decided to take a break from competitive boxing for five years.

He dusted off his old gloves and competed again ahead of the 1991 SEA Games in Manila.

But he never managed to reach the dizzying heights of yesteryear, managing only bronze-medal wins in Manila and in Singapore in 1993.

Mukhlis admits that, since leaving the sport, he had shied away from media interviews and even talking about his boxing exploits to strangers.

"Sometimes, when some people ask me if I'm 'Mukhlis the former boxing champion', I tell them they have the wrong person," he said shyly.

"Why? If we talk about boxing, the topic will eventually go to how I won gold in 1985.

"Then it will become as though I'm boasting about myself, right? So I prefer to keep a low profile."

After much convincing, however, Mukhlis agreed to this interview with TNP as he hopes his story can inspire Singapore's boxers to rise above themselves in June's SEA Games.

He said: "What I hope is that the fans come down to the Expo Hall and cheer on our boxers. Every supporter counts.

"In 1983, the arena I competed in was packed, and it pumped me up, and I wanted to win so badly.

"That type of support will lift our guys. I guarantee it."

Mukhlis hopes to inspire boxers to glory with his comeback story

He holds the distinction of being the last Singaporean to win a SEA Games boxing gold medal, when he triumphed in Bangkok in 1985.

Yet, one regret still rankles Mohammed Mukhlis Amat to this day.

Two years before his victory in Thailand, he found himself moments away from bagging a gold medal in front of a partisan home crowd at Ngee Ann Polytechnic.

But, being a rash 19-year-old then, he fell victim to the folly of blind youth aggression.

Despite outclassing his Thai opponent Sunruay Mongson for most of the bout, Mukhlis was not content to win on points and wanted to knock his opponent out.

But, as the Singaporean southpaw went for the jugular, Sunruay delivered a blow that floored the youngster and had him out for the count.

But he trained harder and finally tasted gold — at the Bangkok Games two years later.

Usually media-shy, Mukhlis agreed to be interviewed by The New Paper as he hopes his story can inspire Singapore’s athletes to rise above themselves.

Read the full report in our print edition on April 19.

Subscribe to The New Paper, now available in print and digital, at http://bit.ly/tnpeshop.

HED CHEF

Hed Chef: Longevity noodles

To good health and longevity

Boil the noodles for three minutes and rinse under tap water. Set aside. (A)
Add the mushroom. (B)
Add the roast pork. (C)

Tap on tradition and whip up your own meal for a meaningful birthday celebration.

You can have it simple, yet luxurious by adding dried scallops and high-quality dried shiitake mushroom.

Do not overcook the noodles during the boiling stage. Better still, get them slightly under-cooked so the end result after frying is a slightly chewy texture with bite.

I recommend using two pairs of long unvarnished bamboo chopsticks to toss the noodles when you stir-fry them.

The longevity noodles usually come in packets of 300g, and this should be enough for three or four persons.

Noodles traditionally symbolise long life, and the Chinese believe that one should not cut the noodles.

Longevity noodles are especially long, so you need some patience and effort in preparing them.

INGREDIENTS

  • 300g dried longevity noodles
  • 5 dried shiitake mushrooms
  • 150g roast pork, sliced
  • 100g yellow chives, sliced into 7cm lengths.
  • 3 dried scallops
  • 80g dried prawns
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tsp light soya sauce
  • 160ml water for soaking
  • 80ml water
  • 4 tbsp cooking oil

METHOD

1. Rinse the dried prawns and soak them in 80ml of water until they become soft. Reserve the soaking liquid and mince the dried prawns.

2. Rinse the dried scallop and soak in 80ml of water until softened. Reserve the soaking liquid.

3. Combine the soaking liquid and mix with the oyster sauce and light soya sauce.

4. Boil the noodles for three minutes and rinse under tap water. Set aside. (A)

5. Heat the oil.

6. Fry the garlic until fragrant, add the dried prawn.

7. Add the scallops.

8. Add the mushroom. (B)

9. Add 80ml of water.

10. Add the yellow chives.

11. Add the roast pork. (C)

12. Add the noodles.

13. Add the mixture of oyster sauce, light soya sauce and soaking liquid.

14. Stir-fry until noodles are almost dry.

15. Serve hot.

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MAKAN SUTRA

Best of Malaysia and Indonesia on a plate

MAKAN UP: Ummi Abdullah's Ambeng Classic Duo set (above).
MAKAN UP: Telor Belado and Masak Habang.
MAKAN UP: Iced air assam jawa and rose selasih.
MAKAN UP: The place is always crowded during mealtimes.
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Tags: EATS

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JONATHAN WOO.
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Malaysian shuttler Lee could play at SEA Games

Former world No. 1 promises to deliver point for Malaysia if he's cleared to compete

He wowed the crowds at the Singapore Indoor Stadium last year at the OUE Singapore Open, before losing to Indonesia’s Simon Santoso in the men’s singles final.

Come June, Malaysia’s former world No. 1 men’s shuttler Lee Chong Wei may well return to the same arena to compete in the men’s team event at the South-east Asia (SEA) Games.

At the sidelines of a mobile phone launch in Malaysia on Friday, the 32-year-old told Malaysian media: “I’ll only play in the team event as the BAM (Badminton Association of Malaysia) plans to send me for a tournament which will clash with the SEA Games’ (singles) competition.

“If I’m eligible to compete, the team will be counting on me to deliver the first point. I hope to play the crucial role of boosting the team’s morale.”

The 2008 and 2012 Olympic men’s singles silver medallist is provisionally banned by the Badminton World Federation (BWF) after testing positive for anti-inflammatory drug dexamethasone during the world championships last August.

He was in Amsterdam last week for an appeal hearing, and expects a verdict in about two weeks.

Read the full report in our print edition on April 19.

Subscribe to The New Paper, now available in print and digital, at http://bit.ly/tnpeshop.

Susilo has no regrets missing out on SEA Games

He wowed the crowds at the Singapore Indoor Stadium last year at the OUE Singapore Open, before losing to Indonesia's Simon Santoso in the men's singles final.

 

Come June, Malaysia's former world No. 1 men's shuttler Lee Chong Wei may well return to the same arena to compete in the men's team event at the South-east Asia (SEA) Games.

 

At the sidelines of a mobile phone launch in Malaysia on Friday, the 32-year-old told Malaysian media: "I'll only play in the team event as the BAM (Badminton Association of Malaysia) plans to send me for a tournament which will clash with the SEA Games' (singles) competition.

"If I'm eligible to compete, the team will be counting on me to deliver the first point. I hope to play the crucial role of boosting the team's morale."

The 2008 and 2012 Olympic men's singles silver medallist is provisionally banned by the Badminton World Federation (BWF) after testing positive for anti-inflammatory drug dexamethasone during the world championships last August.

He was in Amsterdam last week for an appeal hearing, and expects a verdict in about two weeks.

Read the full report in our print edition on Apr 19. Subscribe to The New Paper, now available in print and digital, at http://bit.ly/tnpeshop.

Anderson is England's top wicket-taker

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