HAFIZ FAIZAL believes there will be more than one Indonesian pair challenging for a place in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
Hafiz, who with Gloria Emanuelle Widjaja, are currently Indonesia’s top mixed doubles pair and they are ranked 11th in the world since the retirement of Rio 2016 Olympic champion Liliyana Natsir in January.
Liliyana’s former partner Tontowi Ahmad, now paired with Winny Okatavina Kandow, are also in the race to qualify for the Olympics.
Hafiz also named another two pairs – world No. 15 Praveen Jordan-Melati Daeva Oktavianti and world No. 18 Rinoy Rivaldy-Pitha Haningtyas Mentari – as strong contenders.
“The competition is going to be stiff. I think it’s not just us who have a chance to qualify as the rest are also quite strong,” said Hafiz.
“We are enjoying the healthy competition and we will support whoever gets the Olympic tickets.
“Of course we to want to qualify and we are working very hard to say focused on Tokyo.
“And whatever opportunity that comes our way to help us get there, we’ll grab it.”
The pair showed their intention when they easily disposed of Taiwan’s Lee Yang-Yang Ching-tun 21-16, 21-10 in 25 minutes.
And as luck would have it, they will face Tontowi-Winny for the third time this year in the second round tomorrow.
Tontowi-Winny had no problems defeating Vietnam’s Do Tuan Duc-Pham Nhu Tao 21-15, 21-18.
In their previous meetings, Hafiz-Gloria won both times – 21-13, 28-26 at the German Open in February and 21-17, 21-14 at the Indian Open last week.