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Thursday December 6, 2012

Iskandar starts by seeing off Joo-young in first round

PETALING JAYA: National back-up shuttler Iskandar Zulkarnian Zainuddin is far from pleased with his performances this year and is prepared to work even harder to improve his rankings.

The 21-year-old Iskandar, whose best achievement to date was finishing as runner-up in the Asian and World Juniors in 2009, has yet to live up to his potential on the senior stage.

The Kuala Lumpur-born shuttler is now ranked 80th in the world and has yet to reach even the quarter-finals of any tournament this year.

Iskandar is aware of his shortcomings and has vowed to work doubly hard in training.

“My performance has not been the best recently and I’m really lagging in terms of rankings,” said Iskandar, who is competing in the Korean Open GP Gold in Jeonnam.

“But I know that I need to work extra hard and earn the faith of the coaches.

“Right now I’m still a little behind in terms of physical and mental strength and I’m learning to handle the pressure.

“Hopefully, I’ll do well in the remaining tournaments this year and start next year on a more confident note ... and start moving up the rankings.”

Iskandar, who is seeded eighth in Jeonnam, got off to a great start yesterday – defeating Yoon Joo-young 21-6, 22-20 in the second round.

He faces Indonesia’s Riyanto Subagja next.

Meanwhile, top seed Mohd Arif Abdul Latif was made to slog before prevailing 17-21, 21-17, 21-14 over unknown Japanese Takuya Kokata.

He faces South Korea’s Park Sung-min for a place in the quarter-finals.

Seventh seed Misbun Ramdan Misbun, however, was a major casualty after going down 10-21, 26-24, 17-21 to Czech Republic’s Petr Koukal.

In the men’s doubles, three pairs – Chooi Kah Ming-Ow Yao Han, Goh V Shem-Ong Jian Guo and Jagdish Singh-Mohd Razif Latif – cleared their first round hurdles.

But Mohd Lufti Zaim-Teo Kok Siang and former world junior champions Nelson Heg-Teo Ee Yi bit the dust.

In the women’s singles, only Sonia Cheah and Yang Li Lian are left in the mix following the early exits of Lydia Cheah and Sannatasah Saniru.

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