TheStar
PETALING JAYA: Mohd Hafiz Hashim’s win in the men’s singles event at the Swiss Open badminton championships last Sunday should be taken as a springboard to revive his career.

Hafiz had the world at his feet when he won the men’s singles title at the All-England in 2003 but since then he had nothing much to show until last Sunday’s win.

Hopefully, the triumph can propel the 23-year-old Hafiz back on track for a good showing in the World Championships in Los Angeles in August.

On Sunday, Hafiz stunned top seed Peter Gade-Christensen of Denmark 17-14, 15-10 to bag his first title in two years.

The Swiss Open was the last of his three back-to-back tournaments in Europe. Earlier at the German Open, Hafiz finished as runner-up but he was a third-round casualty at the All-England.

He is currently ranked 11th in the world. Two other Malaysians ranked ahead of him are Lee Chong Wei at number six and Wong Choong Hann at number eight. Hafiz now has to be consistent in order to get a good seeding in the World Championships.

Hafiz has to do well in the Japan Open (April 5-10) to break into the top eight in the world. The Japan Open is the last Grand Prix tournament that offers qualifying ranking points for the World Championships.

National coach Misbun Sidek said yesterday he would not like to see Hafiz in a slump again.

“Hafiz took a long time to recover after the All-England win. He was early-round casualties in all the tournaments after that. Winning the Swiss Open is a boost for him. Now, he must be consistent,” added Misbun. “Hafiz must prove that this win is not a fluke. He has to build his game from here.”

While the singles players fared reasonably well in the European tournaments, the men’s doubles players were disappointing.

National doubles coach Yap Kim Hock has a lot of work to do in an effort to raise the standard of Chan Chong Ming-Koo Kien Keat and back-up players Tan Bin Shen-Ong Soon Hock.

There was, however, good news for Chin Eei Hui-Wong Pei Tty, the top women’s doubles pair. After making the semi-finals in the German Open and quarter-finals in the All-England, the duo are now ranked fifth in the world. It is the best- ever world ranking for the duo.