PETALING JAYA: Shuttler Iskandar Zulkarnain Zainuddin finally earned an international breakthrough in his career after clinching the Singapore International Series.
Boosted by his first local title at the Perak Open last month, the 24-year-old Iskandar extended his fine run by beating team-mate Soo Teck Zhi 21-11, 21-15 in the final on Saturday.
The top seeded world No. 93 proved that he still has a lot to offer after beating two upcoming national shuttlers – Soong Joo Ven and Cheam June Wei – en route to the title.
The win, albeit in a seventh tier event, made up for his disappointing defeat to Hong Kong’s Angus Ng Ka Long in the Austrian Open final in February.
“I’m really happy to have won my first international title but I can’t be too satisfied. It’s just a small tournament and I still have a lot to improve on,” said Iskandar.
“Winning in Perak gave me some confidence coming into Singapore and now hopefully I can carry on and do well in bigger tournaments.
“It is definitely a good start and I hope this would kickstart my bid to qualify for the 2016 Olympics ... since I’m not that young anymore.”
In the men’s doubles, Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) discards Darren Isaac Devadass-Vountus Indra Mawan were the best performers. They made the semi-finals before losing to eventual champions Terry Hee-Loh Kean Hean of Singapore.
Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong had a disappointing outing after losing to Indonesia’s Hardianto-Kenas Adi Haryanto in the quarter-finals.
In women’s singles, SEA Games bronze medallist Goh Jin Wei and Lee Ying Ying also bowed out in the last eight.