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Iskandar, Soniia Win 2018 National Badminton Championships

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KUALA LUMPUR – National badminton players, Iskandar Zulkarnain Zainuddin and Soniia Cheah from the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) emerged champions at the 2018 National Badminton Championships held at the Juara Stadium in Bukit Kiara here today.

Iskandar Zulkarnain, who is also the squad’s third singles player, won his second title after defeating his training partner, Lee Zii Jia, who is also second singles player, 21-19, 21-16.

“It was sweet victory for me after going through some uncertain situations due to injuries. I played well today. On the other hand, Zii Jia’s attack was not that stinging and (he made) a lot of mistakes.

“As the country’s second singles player, the pressure was definitely on Zii Jia. Although I was always defeated during training, I determined to rise in the final,” he told reporters here.

The 27-year-old Iskandar Zulkarnain, who won the national title for the first time in 2015, felt today’s victory would boost his spirit to be consistent and at the same time, achieve the target of being in the world’s top 20 players.

“I felt alone when I was injured (that day). Coach Misbun (Datuk Misbun Sidek) had motivated me while Datuk Seri (Mohamad Norza Zakaria) had given a lot of trust.

“I want to have my performance back and be in the top 20…It will be a bonus to me if I can achieve more than that,” he said.

Meanwhile, Soniia only needed 43 minutes before she bagged her first national title after defeating teammate, S. Kisona 21-14, 21-19.

The 24-year-old lass also received another piece of good news when she was listed as the women’s singles player who will represent the country at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia next month.

“It is good to win the title after suffering from an injury for quite some time. I want to thank my parents and sister for their support. To be the country’s number one is important but it is not everything. Everyone has the chance to win the title.

“As I can see, Kisona has played very well in this tournament as she beat Goh Jin Wei. She has shown her potential. I hope we can improve together and make Malaysia proud in the future,” she said.

Meanwhile, national men’s doubles top seeds Goh V Shem-Tan Wee Kiong had to work hard before winning the title.

The Rio Olympic Games silver medallists beat a new pair, Mohd Arif Abdul Latif-Nur Mohd Azriyn Ayup, 21-17, 19-21, 21-15 while Goh Yea Ching-Soong Fei Choo thrashed Chow Mei Kuan-Yap Cheng Wen 21-19, 24-22.

The mixed doubles category was won by Goh Soon Huat-Shevon Lai after beating Tan Kian Meng-Lai Pei Jing 21-17, 21-17. – BERNAMA

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