PETALING JAYA: Former Asian junior singles champion Leong Jun Hao is awaiting a bigger test with renewed zeal after living up to the billing as the Division Two champion in the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) Invitational Championships.
Jun Hao took only 34 minutes to blow away Lim Chong King in the final match of the six-man, round-robin battle to emerge as the winner at the Academy Badminton Malaysia (ABM) in Bukit Kiara yesterday.
Both Jun Hao and Chong King have now earned the right to play in Division One by virtue of being the top two players in the second division.
They will compete against Lee Zii Jia, Cheam June Wei, Ng Tze Yong, Aidil Sholeh Ali Sadikin, Liew Daren and Soong Joo Ven in a round-robin format at the same venue starting on Wednesday.
The 21-year-old Jun Hao is hoping to finish among the top four and earn the right to represent Malaysia in the Thomas Cup Finals in Aarhus, Denmark, from Oct 3-11. Malaysia will likely name four singles and six doubles players for the Finals.
“I had a good workout with the junior players, their standard is there as we train together regularly. I’m now looking forward to playing against tougher opponents in the top division,” said Jun Hao.
“My form is better and I’m more motivated. My goal is to finish among the top four.”
Jun Hao is hoping to be picked again for the Thomas Cup Finals. He was in the squad two years ago in Bangkok, Thailand, but played a minor role as one of the reserves in the team.
“Everyone is fighting for the Thomas Cup slot and they’ll be out to do well next week. Competition will be keen but I’ll be ready,” added the world No. 157 Jun Hao, who is making a steady comeback to the top after his progress was hampered by a series of ankle and hip injuries since October 2018.
Men’s singles: Leong Jun Hao bt Lim Chong King 21-19, 21-16; Low Eu Cong bt Wyman Goh 21-12, 21-13; Mohd Shaqeem Eiman Shahyar bt Ter Chun Long 21-13, 21-12.
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