Badminton Life

Fairuzizuan and Zakry Nail Second Straight Super Series Title

Malaysia ended a drought that has lasted a long 18 years after they won the men's doubles title at the Indonesian Open over the weekend in Jakarta.

The rising pair of Mohd Fairuzizuan Mohd Tazari and Mohd Zakry Abdul Latif went into the final as underdogs against the 2000 Sydney Olympic gold medalists Tony Gunawan and Candra Wijaya, representing the US and Indonesia. However, despite Fairuzizuan being struck by stomach cramps, the Malaysians emerged as 19-21, 21-18, 21-14 winners.

It was their second successive international title after they won the Singapore Open last week. They became the second Malaysian pair to win back to back titles after Koo Kien Keat and Tan Boon Heong.

However, at one stage, it looked like the Malaysians could not be able to continue with Fairuzizuan close to packing it in at 17-14 in the opening game.

Fairuzizuan said in an interview with local media: "We went on the attack from the start. It was very close as we exchanged the lead several times until we took the lead. Then, I felt the pain in my stomach after going for several smashes.

"I felt like fainting due to the sharp pain. I hung on but we lost the game. We are playing in the final and we did not want to give up. I was determined to stay focused and with strong support from Zakry, we bounced back strongly to score this memorable win.

"We believe in each other's ability and I think, the trust was the key to our success."

The Indonesian victory was even more impressive than their Singapore triumph because they were up against stronger teams especially in the final, where Gunawan and Candra were the crowd favourites.

Zakry said it was a proud moment for him as they overcame one of the most experienced pairs in the sport.

"Our target this year was to win one title and we have now done better with two. We are feeling very confident of ourselves now, especially after having beaten an experienced pair like Tony and Candra," said Zakry.

Unfortunately, their good form has come too late to win them a place in the Beijing Olympic Games. Malaysia have already chosen their two men's doubles pairing and Fairuzizuan and Zakry have missed out.

"We wished that we had struck such good form earlier when we were fighting for a place in the Beijing Olympics. But we will continue to work hard and be recognised as a pair who can perform consistently well in tournaments," said Zakry.

The duo are unlikely to play in this week's Thailand Open.

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