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Hafiz in Desperate Bid to Qualify for Beijing Olympics

Malaysia's Hafiz Hashim will be looking to this week's All England Championships in Birmingham as his last chance to get his name on the roster for the Beijing Olympic Games.

Hafiz, a former winner of the All England men's singles title, must do well in England and at the forth coming Swiss Open to stand a chance of qualifying for the Olympics.

However, with a first-round date with China's world number one Lin Dan in Switzerland, it looks like the All England is where Hafiz will have to make an impact.

Still, that doesn't mean that the All England will by any easier. Hafiz is slated to meet China's Bao Chunlai in the first round.

Bao is a match for any player on his day and was runner-up at the 2007 Malaysian Open. Hafiz, however, knows the importance of his task and has vowed to give it his best.

"I don't want to think about the Swiss Open at all, not when I'm meeting Lin Dan in the first round. It's the All England where I want to give my best shot to boost my world ranking," said Hafiz.

"Playing Chunlai is no easy feat but I've won the All England before and I have to progress far if I want to qualify for the Olympics.

"I'm more confident after having won all my matches in the Thomas Cup qualifier (in Ho Chi Minh City). I didn't play any big names but it is still a good feeling to end a tournament without losing."

Victory over Bao would probably put him up against South Korean Lee Hyun-il, one of the tour's in-form players who last week won the German Open men's singles title. The seedings would have projected a quarter-final against Peter Gade Christensen but the Dane has pulled out of the tournament because of injury.

Each country can only have two singles players in the Olympic main draw and Hafiz is now third in line to Lee Chong Wei and Wong Choong Hann. Hafiz is ranked 22 in the world but Wong is ranked 15, which gives him the Olympic nod should they finish in this position on the April 30 cut-off date.

Lee is the world's second-ranked player.












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