Zulfadli Zulkiffli of Federal Territories beat Selangor’s Nur Mohd Azriyn Ayub 15-21, 21-20, 21-16 in the Sukma men's team event.
KANGAR: Former world junior champion Zulfadli Zulkiffli is clearly rusty after being out of action for two months with a knee injury.
The 20-year-old, who picked up the injury during the Malaysian Open Grand Prix Gold in Johor in March, was rough around the edges as he struggled to a 15-21, 21-20, 21-16 win over Selangor’s Nur Mohd Azriyn Ayub in Federal Territories’ opening game of the men’s team event at the Malaysia Games (Sukma) on Wednesday.
However, Zulfadli’s triumph was not enough as FT slumped to a 3-2 defeat to Selangor and were knocked out of the men’s team competition.
Zulfadli, who arrived in Kangar at 2am on Wednesday after competing in the Spanish Open in Madrid last week, admitted that his performance was poor against Mohd Azriyn.
“I barely slept for four hours before the match. I’m also jet-lagged. I was trying to adapt to the draught and lighting in the hall ... so I was slow,” said Zulfadli.
“This will be my last Sukma and I want to defend the individual gold medal but I will have to take it one match at a time due to my knee injury. I don’t want to aggravate it.”
Zulfadli was a key player for the FT team at the Pahang Sukma in 2012, when they made a clean sweep of the men’s gold medals, winning the singles, doubles and team events.