THE Latif family from Negri Sembilan already have one son Mohd Zakry in the senior national badminton team. One more is showing big potential to join his brother.
Mohd Arif continued with his giant-killing act when he sent second seed Liew Daren of Selangor packing to reach the boys’ singles semi-finals on a night of upsets at the Kedah BA Hall in Suka Menanti yesterday.
The unseeded 17-year-old from Bukit Jalil Sports School played a superb attacking game to beat Daren 21-19, 21-15 in the quarter-finals.
With the win, Arif has now beaten three national junior players from the Project 2010-2012 squad under Rashid Sidek and will be up against Azrihanif Azahar of Selangor in the semi-finals today.
He defeated 2004 Sukma silver medallist Hazwan Jamaluddin of Police and Penang’s Lee Hock Lai on Tuesday to reach the quarter-finals.
The Kedah Games also lost the first and third seeds in the boys’ singles competition last night.
Negri’s Mohd Shafiq Jamaluddin eliminated top seed Lim Kenn of Selangor 21-14, 21-16 while Chong Li Qun of the Federal Territories sent Kedah’s hope Tan Chun Seang crashing out with a 21-18, 21-19 win in the other quarter-final matches.
Fourth seeded Azrihanif had to go the distance against Beryno Wong of Sabah before winning 22-20, 15-21, 21-11.
After Chun Seang’s defeat, the crowd took to cheering for the spunky Arif.
After losing the first game narrowly, Daren attempted to make a comeback and all pointed to an interesting battle when the score was tied at 12-12.
However, the Selangor shuttler’s outing came to a sad end moments later when he slipped while retrieving a shot. The limping Daren trailed 13-17 and eventually conceded defeat.
Arif was delighted with his win but he felt he could have beaten Daren regardless of the injury suffered by his opponent.
“I was confident after winning the first game. I made fewer mistakes and had better control of the match tonight. My target was to reach the last four and I have achieved the target,” said Arif, who also has three siblings competing for Negri in the Kedah Games.
“This is also the second time that I beat Daren in the Sukma. I beat him in the team event last week.”
In the girls’ singles, the top two seeds – Lydia Cheah and Teng Jing Yi – cleared their quarter-final hurdles.
Lydia, representing the Federal Territories, scored an easy 21-11, 21-18 win over Sanatasha Saniru of Sabah while 15-year-old Penangite Jing Yi beat Ong Boon Hui of Malacca 21-13, 21-9. Lydia will be up against another Penang player, Daphne Ng, while Jing Yi will face Kedah’s Ooi Swee Wenn in the semi-finals.
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