NEGRI Sembilan shuttler Mohd Arif Latif made his Sukma debut in impressive fashion by chalking up upset wins over older opponents to qualify for the quarter-finals of the boys’ singles competition at the Kedah BA Hall last night.
Arif, who is from the Bukit Jalil Sports School, sent 21-year-old Mohd Hazwan Jamaluddin packing with a 24-22, 21-15 win in a first-round match in the morning.
Hazwan played for Negri at the last Sukma in 2004 and finished as runner-up but he donned Police colours in Alor Star.
A gutsy Arif proved that his win over Hazwan was no fluke when he eliminated Project 2010-2012 squad’s Lee Hock Lai of Penang 21-17, 20-22, 21-11 in an evening match.
However, the 17-year-Arif has an uphill task in the quarter-finals tonight. He will play against second seed Liew Daren of the Federal Territories.
However, Arif can take heart from Daren’s fluctuating form in the team competition earlier.
Daren lost twice in FT’s unsuccessful defence of the team title. The FT player, who had a first round bye, opened his campaign by beating Mohd Shafiq Jamaluddin of Negri 21-19, 21-18.
Perak’s Chan Kwong Beng, the winner in the national schools (MSSM) Under-18 tournament last year, fell at the first hurdle. He was beaten 17-21, 12-21 by national junior Mohd Shafiq Jamaluddin of Negri.
Tan Chun Seang is the remaining Kedah hope to retain the singles gold medal won by Kuan Beng Hong at the last Games after teammate Chong Wei Feng lost 20-22, 18-21 to Sabah’s Beryno Wong in the second round.
It was the second successive time that Wei Feng had lost to Beryno here. The Sabahan had beaten Wei Feng in his team’s 2-3 defeat by Kedah in a group tie last week.
Top seed Lim Kenn of Selangor, who was also given a first-round bye, chalked up a 21-14, 21-19 win over Goh Soon Huat of Malacca.
There was also a notable upset in the first round of the girls’ singles event. Pahang’s Tan Sin Lan beat national junior Stephanie Shalini of FT 21-15, 21-15.
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