Badminton Life



Youngster Arif Given Chance to Shine at Thomas Cup

Youngster Mohd Arif Abdul Latif was given a chance to prove himself as the future of Malaysian badminton after being named in the squad for May's Thomas Cup Finals in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) president Datuk Nadzmi Mohd Salleh said the 19-year-old's presence in the squad was "for the betterment of the future of Malaysian badminton".

Arif is part of Project 2010-2012 to groom Malaysia's next generation of players. He joins world number two Lee Chong Wei, Wong Choong Hann and Mohd Hafiz Hashim as singles players for the Thomas Cup, which is being held from May 11-18.

Nadzmi was quoted as saying: "He is a very promising player. He has the approval of all the coaches because of his consistency and ability to withstand pressure. We compared him with several other candidates and he stood out."

Also aiming for the fourth singles spot were fellow Project 2010-2012 players Tan Chun Seang and Chong Wei Feng and the experienced Yeoh Kay Bin, Mohd Roslin Hashim, Lee Tsuen Seng and Sairul Amar Ayob.

At the last Thomas Cup Finals in Japan, Wong Choong Hann withdrew from the semi-finals against Denmark because of an Achilles tendon injury. His place was taken by the inexperienced Kuan Beng Hong.

Kuan was unable to withstand the pressure and lost, allowing Denmark to win the tie 3-2. Nadzmi is hoping that Arif, if called upon, will be able to deliver.

"Yes, there will always be a risk. But we will not know what Arif is capable of unless we give him a chance," said Nadzmi.

The doubles teams are Choong Tan Fook-Lee Wan Wah, Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong and Mohd Fairuzizuan Mohd Tazari-Mohd Zakry Abdul Latif.

As for the importance of the Thomas Cup, Nadzmi rejected recent comments by some coaching staff that the Olympics were the priority for the Malaysian team this year.

"It is as important to us as the Olympic Games. It is a prestigious world team event and I want our players to do well. The coaches have set a semi-final target. But I hope they will go all the way and win it."

Malaysia have not won an Olympic medal since a men's doubles badminton silver at the 1996 Atlanta Games. They last won the Thomas Cup in Kuala Lumpur in 1992.

In the Uber Cup Finals for women, Malaysia left out Anita Raj Kaur. Instead, youngster Tee Jing Yee will join Wong Mew Choo, Julia Wong and Lydia Cheah for the tournament.

The doubles pairings are Chin Eei Hui-Wong Pei Tty, Lim Pek Siah-Ng Hui Lin, Goh Liu Ying-Woon Khe Wei.












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