KOTA BARU: Newly-crowned All-England champion Mohd Hafiz Hashim called his mother to seek her blessings and prayers before playing in the finals on Sunday.
“He usually calls before every important match. I told him to stay calm, be brave (in meeting his opponent) and not be too hasty in his game.
“He promised to play his best and not think too much about winning,” said Zawiyah Hassan, 55, who has kept a keen interest on her sons' badminton careers.
When Hafiz won his semi-final match, elder brother, Roslin, had also called home to inform the family of the good news.
The unseeded 20-year-old Hafiz took 53 minutes to defeat China’s defending champion Chen Hong 17-14, 15-10 at the National Indoor Arena in Birmingham, England.
It was a historic win as the last Malaysian to lift the coveted title was Tan Aik Huang in 1966.
But before learning of Hafiz’s victory, there was confusion at home as to whether he was actually playing in the finals.
Hafiz’s father, retired teacher Hashim Ikhsan, said he now had a good reason not to entirely believe some of the reporting covered in the media.
“Earlier on, I heard a local sportscaster saying that Hafiz had lost to Yong Hock Kin in the quarterfinals which really caused a lot of confusion and distress to us over here,” he told The Star at his home in Kampung Sireh yesterday.
“The final blow came when another sportscaster mentioned later that Hafiz will meet his elder brother Roslin (who lost to Chen Hong in the semi-finals).”
Hashim said he still did not believe the results when Raja Azmi Sulaiman (wife of Nusa Mahsuri president Jalani Sidek) called at midnight to inform him that Hafiz had been crowned the champion.
It was only when Hafiz called home 15 minutes later that the family erupted with joy.
“Earlier, we were looking high and low at all the TV channels, including Astro, for a live telecast, but there was none.
“We believed the results only after we saw a flash over the local television later,” said Hashim.
However, Zawiyah was much more forthright in expressing her disappointment.
“This is such an important occasion. There was no live telecast, nor any announcement of delayed telecasts for the home audience,” she said.
On the advice he gave to his badminton-playing sons, who included Roslin, Muhamad, and the 13-year old twins Hafizi and Hafifi, Hashim said his constant exhortation was for them to use their brains when playing the game.
“Don’t always follow what people say. Of course, we all must respect the coach, but personally, I think that a coach can only claim 10% of the credit. The other 90% is up to the player himself,” he said.
Related story:Mahathir asks states not to ‘spoil’ HafizHafiz: My ultimate goal is to win the Olympics gold medalEddy challenges Hafiz to beat his seven All-England titlesHafiz told to stay level-headedTime-off for the All-England champion
Did you find this article insightful?