My progress in All-England is in my own hands, says Hafiz


BY NIUH JIT ENG

PETALING JAYA: Mohd Hafiz Hashim will be his making his fourth outing at the All-England badminton championships on Wednesday. And he is hoping to make it as far as the fourth round. 

The 21-year-old singles shuttler, whose best achievement was a third round finish, said his progress in the tournament would rest solely in his own hands.  

“I’m ready for the tournament and my target is to reach the quarter-finals to better my best finish so far (at the All-England),” said the Commonwealth Games champion who left for Birmingham last night.  

“Although it won't be easy, my only worry is about myself. It doesn't matter who you face because if you can control the way you play, you will be able to compete to your true potential and gain confidence over your opponent. 

“Anyway, you are only as prepared as your opponent and the most important thing is to believe in your own abilities and don't be afraid to lose,” said the Nusa Mahsuri player who began the year by reaching the semi-finals of the Thailand Open. 

Hafiz, who is facing a tricky draw, said he would take it one match at a time.  

“The first round itself (against Indonesian youngster Sony Dwi Kuncoro) is going to be tough,” said Hafiz, ranked 31st in the world.  

If the unseeded Hafiz gets past the first hurdle, he will meet either Japan's Shoji Sato or Jim Ronny Andersen of Norway before a possible third round clash with sixth seed Anders Boesen of Denmark. 

“I have beaten Anders before (in the 2001 Danish Open) but it was under the changed (7x5) format but I am confident of playing to my true strength if we were to meet again,” said Hafiz who is likely to take on teammate and second seed, Wong Choong Hann, if they both reach the quarter-finals.  

The other Malaysian men's singles players in the fray are Hafiz's elder brother, Roslin, national champion, Lee Chong Wei and Lee Tsuen Seng and Yong Hock Kin. 

The men's doubles competition will see three Malaysian pairs taking part - national number one, Chan Chong Ming-Chew Choon Eng who had been seeded second, the veteran pair of Choong Tan Fook-Lee Wan Wah and Chang Kim Wai-Hong Chieng Hun.  

Although certain quarters voiced their displeasure at having to face tough opposition in the early rounds of the meet, Hafiz said it was the luck of the draw that everyone should just accept. 

“Although I think it could be a little too early for Choong Hann to meet Hock Kin (they are tipped to meet in the second round), I believe the draw was done according to the rules. 

“Even if some feel they were hard done by, it is nobody's fault and every player should just accept it,” said Hafiz whose best finish on the Grand Prix circuit last year was a quarter-final outing at the Japan Open in April. 

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