Badminton: Arif, Lydia get to focus on one individual event at world meet

KUALA LUMPUR: Shuttlers Mohd Arif Abdul Latif and Lydia Cheah have been granted their requests to concentrate on only one individual event in the World Junior Championships, which will be held in Auckland from Oct 24-Nov 4. 

The duo will be making their last appearance in the championship series and they want to bow out as singles champions. 

In the Asian Junior championships in Kuala Lumpur in July, Arif and Lydia had their hands full playing in both the singles and doubles and it affected their performances. 

Arif said after a training session at the Juara Stadium in Bukit Kiara yesterday: “I still remember the painful defeat (by China's Chen Long) in the Asian junior final. I was physically drained out then. 

Mohd Arif: Hope to end junior career with the world title.

“Now I can give my full concentration in the singles event in Auckland. It will be great to end my junior career with the world title.” 

The lanky Lydia, who took two weeks to recover from a twisted ankle sustained at the Kedah Open last month, is determined to get back to top form in her last outing in the World Juniors. 

“I competed at the Macau Open (last week) but performed poorly (in the qualifying tournament). I will work hard to get back to top shape. This is a good chance for me to go for the title now that I will only play in the singles,” she said. 

Lydia was an early casualty in the World Juniors in Incheon City last year. 

The Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) named their 15-member squad for the championships yesterday and they included strong contenders for titles in two events – Lim Khim Wah-Mak Hee Chun (boys' doubles) and Asian junior champions Tan Wee Kiong-Woon Khe Wei (mixed doubled). 

The Bukit Jalil Sports School (BJSS) chief coach, Sun Chenhua, hoped that the team would perform better than last year when none made it to the quarter-finals except for Khim Wah-Hee Chun. 

In the mixed team event, Malaysia finished third, beating Indonesia in the playoff for the bronze. 

“In July, we beat China to emerge as the Asian junior team champions. It will be tougher at the world championships. We are expected to meet China again in the semi-finals and I hope our boys and girls will give fighting performances,” said Chenhua.  

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