PETALING JAYA: Men’s singles shuttler Leong Jun Hao is hoping to qualify for his first Malaysian Open in Bukit Jalil from Jan 9-14.
Jun Hao, who is currently ranked No. 38 in the world, needs to break into the top 32 by the end of the year to be assured of making the cut for the prestigious home tourney.
The 24-year-old needs a positive result in his last tournament of the year – the Syed Modi International in Lucknow starting today – to move up the rankings.
“It will be good to get to compete in the Malaysian Open for the first time,” said Jun Hao.
“It is a high level tournament and I can get to play in front of the home fans.
“I hope to break into the top 32 to qualify.”
Jun Hao though has a tough task in the Syed Modi tourney as he is likely to go up against home favourite and World Championships bronze medallist H.S Prannoy as early as the second round.
Before that, the KL Masters champion has a tricky opening match against teammate Justin Hoh while Prannoy will play a qualifier in the first round.
Jun Hao had lost to Justin in their only competitive meeting so far in the Malaysian International Challenge last year.
Jun Hao will be joined by Cheam June Wei, Soong Joo Ven and Aidil Sholeh Ali Sadikin.
The other Malaysians in the fray are Yap Roy King-Wan Arif Wan Junaidi, Low Hang Yee-Ng Eng Cheong, Choong Hon Jian-Mohd Haikal Nazri and Goh V Shem-Boon Xin Yuan (men’s doubles); Go Pei Kee-Low Yeen Yuan and Cheng Su Hui-Carmen Ting (women’s doubles); and Tan Kian Meng-Lai Pei Jing, Chan Peng Soon-Cheah Yee See, Roy King-Valeree Siow, Choong Hon Jian-Go Pei Kee and Hoo Pang Ron-Cheng Su Yin (mixed doubles).