The Star Online > Sports
Tuesday September 21, 2004


Dutch boost for shuttler Azrihanif

BY RAJES PAUL

KUALA LUMPUR: For the first time, young shuttler Azrihanif Azahar will be in Europe to play in a Grand Prix competition – the Dutch Open from Sept 29-Oct 3.

And he hopes the experience in playing against some of the big boys of world badminton will help him achieve better results in his second outing in the World Junior Championships next month.

The 18-year-old Azrihanif is one of the four juniors selected to represent Malaysia in the two-star (US$50,000) tournament.

The others are Chong Wei Feng and doubles pair of Hoon Thien How-Tan Boon Heong.


AZRIHANIF: The young shuttler is excited about playing in the Dutch Open.

The Dutch Open is part of their preparation for the World Junior meet, which will be played in Vancouver, Canada, from Oct 20-31.

The others for the world junior meet but will not feature in Holland are Tan Chun Seang and Lim Kenn and the girls' squad of Anita Kaur Raj, Amelia Alicia Anscelly and Haw Chiou Hwee.

Azrihanif, the two-time Under-18 singles champion, who chose to take up a badminton career instead of football when he was 14, said: “It is my first trip to Europe and I am all excited over it. My aim is to progress far.”

His last international outing was in the Singapore Satellite two weeks ago and the Selangor shuttler was eliminated in the second round.

Only the top names from Europe have confirmed their participation in the Dutch Open. Among them are Denmark's Kenneth Jonassen and Anders Boesen; Germany's Bjoern Joppien; and Holland's Dicky Palyama.

“It will be a good experience for me and it will get me better prepared for the world junior meet,” said Azrihanif.

“At the previous world meet, I lost in the third round and I want to do better this time. Good performances in Vancouver will also enhance my chances of getting into the national team.”

Currently, Malaysia will be represented by junior shuttlers in international tournaments.

The seniors and back-up shuttlers have been suspended from international tournaments for two months and they will only make a comeback at the China Open scheduled for Nov 9-14. The juniors, however, will not move on to compete in the following Danish Open scheduled for Oct 5-10.