GEORGETOWN – National professional shuttler Zulfadli Zulkiffli is ready to take on the challenge of being the first singles in theÂ Badminton Asia Team Championships cum Thomas Cup qualifying round in Hyderabad, India next month.
“I know this is the first time I will taking on this heavy responsibility. But I am ready to be the first singles. If I still cannot accept this challenge, when will I know if I do not start now.
“More so, there is no excuse to shirk from national challenges at such a major tournament,” he told reporters last night.
The Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) has listed the former 2011 world junior champion as the first singles, to head the country’s challenge in the Thomas Cup qualifying round with Iskandar Zulkarnain Zainuddin, Soo Teck Zhi and Soong Joo Ven for the men’s singles.
Meanwhile, in the men’s doubles, BAM is featuring Tan Kian Meng/Low Juan Shen, Ong Yew Sin/Teo Ee Yi and Tan Chee Tean/Tan Wee Gieen.
Zulfadli, who left the court crying after a dramatic match against Ajay Jayaram of India in which he lost, came forward to explain to the media the debacle.
According to the 22-year-old, what happened in the third round of the men’s singles in the 2016 Malaysia Masters Badminton Gold Grand Prix (yesterday) had taught him a lesson.
Zulfadli who almost clinched the match in the third round, lost 21-11, 8-21, 20-22 to Ajay.
In the match which lasted 56 minutes, Zulfadli, who was leading 18-10 in the decider, could not fend off attacks by the tournament’s 10th seed.
“I was very disappointed in the third set as I was leading quite far ahead but then in a hurry to finish the game, I faultered while Ajay was more focused.
Zulfadli said the loss not only left him knocked out of the semi-finals but it also caused him an additional point in the Badminton World Federation (BWF) ranking.
“I was just two points away from victory and the whole event turned into a nightmare for me.
“But I hope to perform better in the next tournament,” said Zulfadli who was accompanied by his father and coach, Zulkiffli Sidek and mother Hanni Pranatyo at the media conference.
Zulfadli will be playing at the India Open Grand Prix Gold Championships in Lucknow, India, from Jan 26-31 followed by the Thailand Open Grand Prix Gold from Feb 8-13 before leading the country’s challenge in Hyderabad. – BERNAMA