Aidil hopes to end final appearance on a high

PETALING JAYA: Selangor shuttler Aidil Sholeh Ali Sadikin (pic)has an unfinished business at the Sukma (Malaysia Games), which is to secure the men’s singles gold that slipped away in Perak four years ago.

The 22-year-old shuttler needs to upstage several national players led by favourite Ng Tze Yong but he is not throwing in the towel.

Besides Tze Yong, who represents Johor, Aidil will have his hands full as the likes of Federal Territories (FT) trio Leong Jun Hao, Lim Chong King and Justin Ho, Jacky Kok of Kedah, Penang duo Choong Hon Jin and Lee Shun Yang and Selangor teammate Shaqeem Eiman Shahyar will also be challenging for the men’s singles crown.

Aidil’s golden debut was thwarted by Penang’s Tan Jia Wei at the Perak Sukma in 2018 and the shuttler’s chances of aiming for the title went up in smoke two years ago as the Johor edition in 2020 was postponed and later cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Aidil will not be playing here if not for the National Sports Council’s decision to change the Kuala Lumpur Games from Under-21 to Under-23 event.

“I missed out on gold and I will give my best shot to win. It is going to be very tough for me as there as so many good players this time.

“Tze Yong will be the favourite but the pressure will be on him and I need to take advantage of that.

“We are from the same batch since our junior days but it has been a long time since I last played him. He has improved so much and it will not be easy against him.

“Jun Hao, Justin, Shaqeem, Chong King and few others are all good players. But I have nothing to lose and will go all out.”

Sukma has also been the launchpad for several former national shuttlers and the list includes Roslin Hashim, James Chua, Hafiz Hashim and Lee Chong Wei.

The determination of Aidil and the presence of almost the entire singles squad under the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) are also expected to be a crowd puller when the badminton competition takes place at the Axiata Arena from Sept 20-24.

The strong field is also expected to put Commonwealth Games silver medallist Tze Yong’s mental toughness to test.

Tze Yong may need to maintain his current international form in order to stave off the challenge from Aidil and his national teammates and join the list of famous names who had gone on to become Sukma champions.

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