TheStar Oct 24th

PETALING JAYA: Men's singles shuttler Mohd Hafiz Hashim will get a fresh start in his preparations for the Doha Asian Games after the Hari Raya festivities.

The 24-year-old Hafiz has decided to stay in Bukit Jalil and train on a regular basis with the other members of the Asiad team – Lee Chong Wei, Kuan Beng Hong and his elder brother, Roslin.

Previously, Hafiz was only required to have two sessions of training a week with the national players. But the arrangement varies depending on the programmes his coach Misbun Sidek has for him.

Hafiz, who checked into camp in Bukit Jalil on Friday, said that the decision to move base would help him to stay more focused on his preparations for a second appearance in the Asian Games.

“All the facilities – training centre, gymnasium and medical centre – are available in Bukit Jalil,” said Hafiz.

“I aim to improve on my physical condition. I do not have to worry about food too. For the next one month, I can be more focused on my preparations,” said Hafiz.

“Whenever required, I will train in Kelana Jaya (the training centre for Nusa Mahsuri players).

“But certainly, there will be more sparring sessions with the national players right up to the Games.”

Hafiz is determined to win a medal in Doha. He was beaten by Indonesian Taufik Hidayat in the quarter-finals of the last Asiad in Busan in 2002.

He felt that the men's team have a realistic chance to win the gold medal and if it could be achieved, it would certainly make up for the semi-final exit at the Thomas Cup Finals in Japan in May.

“It will be tough in the singles and I will be satisfied with a bronze medal. Based on the overall strength, we have a good chance to win the team event,” said Hafiz.

China will be the favourites in both the singles and team events.

Hafiz will for the first time not celebrate the festive season with Roslin.

“He is in Denmark and he is unable to return home because of his responsibility to play for his club (Vendsyssyl Badminton Club) in a tournament during the Hari Raya,” said Hafiz.