PETALING JAYA: Mohd Arif Abdul Latif’s solid performances for Muar City BC in the Kopiko Purple League has served a reminder that independent shuttlers can do just fine on their own.
Arif left the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) in 2013, but has managed to stay competitive.
The 25-year-old Negri Sembilan-born men’s singles player is the third highest-ranked Malaysian at No. 55 in the world, just behind suspended No. 3 Lee Chong Wei and No. 32 Chong Wei Feng.
He even gave national No. 3 Liew Daren a heavy beating during the Purple League Champions Challenge last Saturday.
Boosted by his solid show, Arif now plans to stake a place in the national team to compete in international team events.
“The BAM helped me a lot earlier in my career. I’m grateful for that,” said Arif.
“But I’m definitely doing much better now as an independent shuttler. There’s no pressure and I am responsible for myself.
“It goes to show that it’s not a bad thing being an independent shuttler. We also earn more on our own.
“However, I’m still hopeful of representing the country in major team events. The BAM have asked some of us, the independent players, to attend selection trials for the Sudirman Cup (in China in May) and Singapore SEA Games (in June). Based on my current ranking, I’m optimistic of securing a place,” added Arif.
For Arif, his next assignment is the Kuala Lumpur Open which starts at the KLBA Stadium in Cheras on Thursday. After that, he will compete in the All-England and Swiss Open in March.
“I hope to do well. My goal is to win the KL Open,” he said.
Arif is the top seed for the first leg of this season’s national circuit. He has a first-round bye. In the second round, he faces BAM’s Goh Giap Chin.
National champion Zulfadli Zulkiffli is the second seed followed by fellow independent shuttler Tan Chun Seang.
With Wei Feng still injured, the under-performing Daren is the highest-seeded BAM shuttler at No. 4.