Badminton Life

Hashim to go all out at ABC

Malaysian singles player Mohd Hafiz Hashim can go into the Asian Badminton Championships (ABC) without the pressure of his place in the Thomas Cup Finals hanging over him.

Hafiz is almost certain to be named as one of the singles players along with world number two Lee Chong Wei and Wong Choong Hann.

However, he is determined not to relax and try his best to at the Johor Bahru tournament, which is being held from April 15-20, when he hopes to at least reach the quarter-finals.

The Thomas Cup Finals are set for Jakarta, Indonesia from May 11 to 18 and, while Hafiz's place is safe, there is one other singles spot remaining.

World number 23 Hafiz is still recovering from an Achilles heel injury but is hopeful of being at his best for the ABC.

"I am still training despite the pain on my Achilles heel. Hopefully, I will not aggravate this injury during the ABC. It will destroy whatever chance I have of representing the country in the Thomas Cup Finals," said Hafiz in the local press.

"The ABC have attracted some of the top players in the world because it is the last tournament for the Asian shuttlers to collect Olympic points. It will be tough and that's why I will be satisfied with a top eight finish."

It will be Hafiz's first tournament since he pulled out of the Swiss Open in March with an injury to his Achilles heel.

Other Malaysian singles players taking part in the ABC, apart from the Thomas Cup trio, are Yeoh Kay Bin, Tan Chun Seang and Mohd Arif Adbud Latif.

Meanwhile, Indonesia have stunned organisers of the ABC by entering veteran pair Candra Wijaya and Nova Widianto for the men's double event.

It is believed that the Indonesians are testing the duo out as a possible pairing for the Thomas Cup Finals.

This will be their first tournament as a pair. Candra's regular partner is US-based Tony Gunawan while Nova is normally associated with Lilyana Natsir as the world's top-ranked mixed doubles pair.

If they are, indeed, a test partnership, then it will give their opponents a chance to have a good look at them.

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