Goh Soon Huat will have to attend another trial to select the fourth singles player for the Malaysia Thomas Cup squad. - Filepic
KUALA LUMPUR: What happened to national back-up shuttler Goh Soon Huat would have broken the spirit of a lesser man.
But, then, Soon Huat is made of sterner stuff.
The 24-year-old shuttler came out tops in the first selection trial last month to choose the fourth men’s singles player for the Thomas Cup Finals.
Unfortunately for him, the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) have decided to call for a second trial to accommodate two players – former national champion Misbun Ramdan Misbun and former world junior champion Zulfadli Zulkiffli.
Ramdan and Zulfadli did not participate in the first trial because they were both ill. They produced medical letters to justify their decisions to skip the trial.
But Soon Huat, though demoralised with the decision, is not about to let it dampen his spirit.
“I was disappointed when I found out about the second trial. I thought that I had done my part ... but I guess I’m still not considered good enough. I have accepted the decision and am looking forward to the fight to win a ticket to the Finals,” he said on Saturday.
“I went for the last Thomas Cup Finals (in Wuhan in 2012) as a sparring partner. I’ve had enough of being a sparring partner. This time, I want to be a member of the team.”
The three singles players confirmed for the Finals are world No. 1 Lee Chong Wei, Chong Wei Feng and Liew Daren.
Soon Huat, last year’s Malaysian Open runner-up, however, admitted that the standard of all three players for the second trial “is quite close”.
He had lost to the skilful Ramdan once – at the Malaysian Open qualifying tournament in January – but beat him twice last year. He has a 1-1 record against the aggressive Zulfadli.
His match against Ramdan at the Malaysian Open was his first major outing in many months after taking a long break.
He had undergone surgery in October after suffering from constant dizzy spells. He even fainted while playing in the Indonesian Open GP Gold in September. Doctors found a blood clot near the area in his brain.
But the resolute Soon Huat proved that he had recovered completely when he defeated Tan Chun Seang and Mohd Arif Abdul Latif en route to winning the first trial.
“It (the second trial) will be a close affair among the three of us ... but I hope to come out a winner,” said Soon Huat.
Ramdan and Zulfadli will take on each other first tomorrow. The winner will then face Soon Huat.
In the men’s doubles, five players have confirmed their places. They are Hoon Thien How-Tan Wee Kiong, Lim Khim Wah-Goh V Shem and Tan Boong Heong.
BAM will now choose one more from these three players – Chan Peng Soon, Ow Yao Han and Koo Kien Keat.