PETALING JAYA: Independent shuttler Nur Mohd Azriyn Ayub may have just embarked on a fresh partnership with Low Juan Shen, but he’s not afraid to aim big.
The 27-year-old is targeting to win an international title next year and break into the world top 30 to qualify for the World Championships in Huelva, Spain.
Azriyn has joined forces with Juan Shen after his partner Arif Abdul Latif decided to call it quits earlier in January.
Juan Shen, also 27, found himself in a similar situation without a partner when Chooi Kah Ming hung up his racket in October last year.
Azriyn-Juan Shen made their presence felt by impressing in their first tournament together – the Thailand Masters when they gave China’s world No. 21 Zhang Nan-Ou Xuanyi a run for their money before losing 16-21,21-15,18-21 in the first round before the Covid-19 put an end to their season.
Azriyn is looking forward to 2021 with renewed optimism.
“Although we have no tournament to compete, Juan Shen and I have been training hard as we want to return to competition in our best possible shape, ” said Azriyn.
“Our immediate goal is to improve on our ranking. To accomplish that, we have to win on the international stage to boost our confidence.
“We hope to break into the top 30 and qualify for the World Championships. I made it with Arif in Basel last year, I have no doubt I can achieve the same with Juan Shen.
“We both teamed up because our unfulfilled Olympic ambition. We want to qualify for Paris 2024, so it will be crucial for us to get off to a good start.”
With his former partner, Azriyn has won the Russian Open, the 2018 World University Games gold and reached the quarter-finals of several World Tour events last year to hit a career-high No. 29 in the world ranking.
“It’s such a shame that Arif had decided to retire. We built from scratch and I thought we’re destined for greater things but I respected his decision, ” said Azriyn.
In the ongoing Top Glove-Purple League in Putrajaya, Azriyn is playing with Iskandar Zulkarnain Zainuddin as Juan Shen is nursing a knee injury. Azriyn-Iskandar are just two matches away from winning the men’s doubles title this week.
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