Tuesday, April 13, 2010

TheStar Badminton news: Nothing as easy as ABC for Hafiz in New Delhi

PETALING JAYA: It will be a crucial battle on all fronts for Mohd Hafiz Hashim in the Asian Badminton Championships (ABC) in New Delhi.

He is not only seeking to impress in the hope of sealing his place in the singles line-up for the Thomas Cup Finals in Kuala Lumpur next month but he also has his eyes set on making the cut for the World Championships in Paris in August.

The qualifying rounds began yesterday but Hafiz will only get into action tomorrow against Thai Pakkawat Vilailak in the first round of the tournament proper.

Shuttlers from the continent get the last chance to rake in ranking points in the ABC to make it to the World Championships and Hafiz is on the borderline position. Hafiz has slid five rungs from 19th to 24th position.
Lee Chong Wei and Wong Choong Hann, ranked first and 15th respectively, are assured of their places in the World Championships and Hafiz can confirm his place as the third Malaysian representative if he remains among the top 24 by April 29.

“This is an important tournament for me. I feel that my place in the Thomas Cup team is more or less secured but I need to play well to qualify for the World Championships,” he said.
“It was a low point for me last year as I missed the world meet in India.
“My position is not good at the moment but I have no injuries.
“I need to reach the quarter-finals in the ABC to improve on my rankings. Doing well in this competition will help bring up my spirit ahead of the Thomas Cup Finals.”

The 2002 Manchester Commonwealth Games gold medallist and 2003 All-England champion has been training under Indonesian coach Hendrawan since July last year and he showed gradual improvement this year.

A more confident Hafiz reached the German Open semi-finals before losing to Chen Long of China and gave Olympic champion Lin Dan a good fight before bowing out in the second round of the All-England.
The 10th seeded Hafiz has his work cut out in New Delhi.

Beating the Thai in the first round is likely to set him up against India’s world junior championships semi-finalist R.M.V. Gurusaidatt.

The other players in his half of the draw are Vietnam’s Nguyen Tien Minh, Thai Boonsak Ponsana, compatriot Tan Chun Seang and second seeded Chinese Lin Dan.

Besides Hafiz and Chun Seang, the other Malaysian singles players in the fray are Chong Wei Feng, Kuan Beng Hong, Chan Kwong Beng and Lok Chong Chieh.

All four are in the other half of the draw with top seed Taufik Hidayat of Indonesia and All-England runners-up Kenichi Tago of Japan.

From: http://thestar.com.my/sports/story.asp?file=/2010/4/13/sports/6040410&sec=sports

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