Badminton: Wiranata digs deep to repel hardy Hock

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STEVE BUTLER may postpone his retirement after a bold but unsuccessful display at the All-England Championships at Birmingham's National Indoor Arena yesterday, writes James Leigh.

The England stalwart's last appearance at this event saw him go out 15-10, 15-7 to the Commonwealth champion, Rashid Sidek - the man who led Malaysia to the world team title - but Butler may continue playing longer than expected. His brilliant effort the previous day in beating Liu Jun, the former All-England champion from China, was followed by another spirited performance at the last-16 stage against the fifth seed. Butler may now go to the Commonwealth Games in August. 'If selected, that would be a good way to finish,' he said.

Butler is likely to conclude a 12- year career as a serious candidate for a Commonwealth medal in Canada, and at next month's European Championships in the Netherlands.

England's only other survivor, the national champion, Suzanne Louis- Lane, also lost in the last 16, but played well to take a game from the China Open champion, Han Jing-na, before losing 11-1, 8-11, 11-3.

Both top seeds in the singles had to battle, with Ardy Wiranata requiring many of his qualities of containment to repel the much-improved Malaysian, Ong Ewe Hock, 15-12,

15-12 and Susi Susanti needing to come from a game and 0-5 down before beating Hisako Mizui, of Japan, 10-12, 11-7, 11-1.

(Photograph omitted)