PETALING JAYA: Aidil Sholeh Ali Sadikin has vowed to keep Malaysia’s flag flying high when the Polish International Challenge begins today in Gniezno.
The 21-year-old singles shuttler is determined to continue the fine momentum generated by teammates Pearly Tan-M. Thinaah and Lee Zii Jia following their feats at the Swiss Open and All-England this month.
While this week’s meet may not be a top-tier event, it still means a lot to Aidil who last competed in the Bangladesh International Challenge in December 2019.
“I have been ready for a long time, now that I finally get to compete, I want to put up a good show and make the country proud, ” said the world No. 140.
“The players in the squad have been doing well recently, so we are in high spirit. We are so proud of Zii Jia and have been inspired by him.
“Hopefully one of us can emulate his title-winning feat this week.”
Zii Jia himself tasted success in Poland back in 2017 when he captured the seventh-tier Polish International Series.
And Aidil will certainly try to secure his first senior title to serve as a stepping stone.
He is the only one from his batch who has yet to taste glory.
Ng Tze Yong had won the Sydney International while Lim Chong King triumphed at the Hellas Open in Greece at the expense of Aidil.
“I lost to Chong King in the final and the following week I made it to the Bulgarian Open semis, ” said Aidil.
“My target is to reach the semis first. If I can do that, I will aim for the title.”
Aidil, who faces a qualifier in the opening round tomorrow, is expected to cruise all the way to the quarter-finals where he is expected to take on world No. 62 and two-time Pan-American champion Kevin Cordon of Guatemala.
The other notable opponents grouped in the bottom half are Pablo Abian of Spain, Raul Must of Estonia and compatriot Iskandar Zulkarnain Zainuddin.
Teammates Leong Jun Hao and Tze Yong are in the top half where they can expect a stiff challenge from top seed Brian Yang of Canada in their path to the final.Chong King, meanwhile, must overcome a gruelling three-round qualifier if he wants to join his teammates in the main draw. Ranked at a lowly No. 160, Chong King failed to make the top-32 main draw.
Malaysia are represented by three pairs in the men’s doubles – Man Wei Chong-Tee Kai Wun, Chan Yee Jun-Chia Wei Jie and Yap Roy King-Nur Firdaus Azman.
Eoon Qi Xuan (women’s singles) and Choong Hon Jian-Toh Ee Wei (mixed doubles) will be the sole flag-bearers in their events.