PETALING JAYA: National men’s singles shuttler Leong Jun Hao is a man on a mission.
Jun Hao is out to impress in the Asian Mixed Team Championships in Dubai from Feb 14-19 to earn a spot in the Sudirman Cup.
The Asian meet serves as the qualifier for the world mixed team from May 14-21 in Suzhou, China, and a good showing could earn Jun Hao a spot in the prestigious competition.
The 23-year-old was included in the squad for the Asian meet along with independent player and world No. 2 Lee Zii Jia.
“It’s great to be selected. This is my first appearance in a mixed team event. I want to do well to earn a place in the squad for the Sudirman Cup,” said the world No. 66.
Jun Hao is known as a team event specialist as he has played an important role in helping the men’s team emerge champions at the 2022 Asian Team championships.
In a crucial group stage tie against Japan, Jun Hao stayed composed to beat Koshiro Moriguchi 21-18, 21-15 and handed Malaysia a narrow 3-2 win which allowed them to finish top of Group B. He was also part of the Thomas Cup Finals squad in Bangkok.
In total, Jun Hao has featured in seven team events, including the 2018 and 2020 Thomas Cup Finals in Bangkok and Aarhus, and the 2020 Asian Team Championships in Manila.
“I believe that my past experiences in team events will come in handy in the tournament in Dubai,” said Jun Hao.
Jun Hao is determined to get off to a strong start this year after enjoying a positive 2022 where he captured the Indonesian Masters, which was his maiden World Tour title. His first assignment of the year will be the Thailand Masters from Jan 31-Feb 5 and he will start from the qualifying round against independent player and world No. 88 Yeoh Seng Zoe.
“I hope to break into the top 40 in the world this year,” said Jun Hao.