PETALING JAYA: Playing in different countries over the last five years has made Mohd Arif Abdul Latif rich in experience.
And the shuttler will use it to stand tall in men’s doubles at the Thomas Cup Finals in Bangkok, Thailand, from May 20-27.
The 28-year-old Arif is a surprise inclusion in the Finals together with Lee Chong Wei, Lee Zii Jia, Iskandar Zulkarnain Zainuddin, Leong Jun Hao, Goh V Shem-Tan Wee Kiong, Teo Ee Yi and Soh Wooi Yik-Aaron Chia.
Arif was happy to be back in the Thomas Cup after representing Malaysia as the fourth men’s singles at the 2008 edition in Jakarta.
“I’m still reeling from the shock of being named for the Finals. I played as a singles player 10 years ago, and now, I’m back as a doubles player,” said Arif, who left Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) in 2013 before rejoining just two weeks ago.
“I’m back with a wealth of experience, having played with different clubs over the five years since I left BAM.”
He joined Ampang in the Purple League in 2013. He then joined Sports Affair before playing in Thailand and Indonesia. He was based in Japan last year.
“I played in the mixed doubles with my girlfriend (Rusydina Antardayu Riodingin of Indonesia). I’ve learnt much over these short stints with clubs at different countries,” said Arif.
“The five-year journey on my own has made me stronger as a person. I’m more fired up than before to take my badminton career to greater heights.”
Arif’s ultimate goal is to qualify for the World Championships and Olympic Games with his men’s doubles partner Nur Mohd Azriyn Ayub.
“Azriyn and I played for the first time at the National Grand Prix Finals this year and reached the final and we decided to stick together,” said Arif.
“The coaches have selected only me for the Finals, I’ll form a scratch pair with Ee Yi and if I’m fielded, I promise to give my best,” he said.