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Thread: Zulfadli Zulkifli
11-06-2011, 07:51 PM #222
The Star Online > Sports
Monday November 7, 2011
World junior champ aims to take over mantle of national No. 1
By RAJES PAUL
PETALING JAYA: Zulfadli Zulkifli stood tall in Taipei as tears of joy rolled down his cheeks yesterday. He had, after all, just conquered the world.
The 18-year-old Zulfadli had made history again as the first Malaysian to win the boys’ singles crown at the world junior badminton championships. He had, in April, been the first Malaysian to win the Asian junior crown in Lucknow, India.
And he pulled off the feat in style yesterday, beating the heavy favourite and defending champion Viktor Axelsen of Denmark 21-18, 9-21, 21-19 in an enthralling 51-minute contest.
Buoyed by the win, Zulfadli declared that he was on course to take over the mantle of national and world No. 1 from compatriot Lee Chong Wei when he calls it a day.
It was double joy for Malaysia when Nelson Heg Wei Keat-Teo Ee Yi successfully dumped local hopefuls and Asian junior champions Huang Po-jui-Lin Chia-yu 21-17, 21-17 to emerge as the country’s seventh boys’ doubles winners in the tournament’s 19-year history.
The focus was, however, all on Zulfadli as he had pulled off a feat that many - especially from the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) banner - had failed to do before.
The player from professional club KLRC now has the world at his feet. The challenge Zulfadli faces is making that quantum leap to the senior level and take Malaysian badminton to even greater heights.
“The joy was indescribable. The sense of achievement in finally winning the world title was sheer ecstasy,” a jubilant Zulfadli said in a telephone interview from Taipei.
“I just cried after beating Viktor and went to hug my father, Zulkifli, who is also my coach. It was the perfect ending to my last tournament as a junior player. “2011 has been a lucky year for me. If you read it backwards it’s my birthday as I was born on the 11th day of February, which is 02,” he said, letting out a hearty laugh.
It was Zulfadli’s self-belief, perseverance and single-mindedness to succeed that led him to his historic achievement.
“I never doubted my chance against Viktor although he has improved by leaps and bounds,” he said.
The Malaysian got off superbly to an 8-1 lead and managed to hold off a late comeback from Axelsen to win the opener 21-18.
The young Dane, who had blown away former world and Olympic champion Taufik Hidayat of Indonesia in the Denmark Open two weeks ago, turned the tide to force a rubber and looked good to defend his crown after taking a 13-9 lead in the decider.
“I simply refused to cave in. I had worked too hard to give it up. And this was my third and last world junior tournament so I wasn’t prepared to lose. I pushed myself and managed to level at 17-17. I knew I had him then and pressed on to take the match,” said Zulfadli.
“The senior game will be challenging but I will be ready for it. I am confident that I can take over from Chong Wei one day.
”I am currently ranked 207th in the world. I want to make it to the top 100 by end of next year.
“I thank everybody who helped me realise my dream, especially my family members who are my number one supporters.
“I must also acknowledge the NSC (National Sports Council), NSI (National Sports Institute), KLBA (KL Badminton Association) and my sponsors KLRC and Forza.
“I am grateful to KLRC for giving me the early exposure in international tournaments as that really helped raise my game,” added Zulfadli, who returns home today to surely a hero’s welcome.
He deserves it.
11-06-2011, 08:47 PM #223
Congrats ZZ! But I must say BAM is more interested in him now than ever (Danger!). I can imagine the higher ups in BAM having a discussion on what kind of 'bait' they should use to lure the 'gold fish'.
11-07-2011, 02:58 AM #224
11-07-2011, 12:52 PM #225
I would guess that Zulfadli Zulkifli would end up as an independent player
I would guess that ZZ would end up (in future tournaments) as an independent player, and not involved with BAM.
Does any BCer know if there are independent players that Li-Ning is sponsoring (like Yonex, Dunlop, Apacs, etc...)?
AFAIK, Li-Ning is only sponsoring National Associations, and not independent players. Please correct me if I am wrong.
11-07-2011, 04:18 PM #226
11-07-2011, 09:20 PM #227
11-08-2011, 02:33 AM #228
chris, if not mistaken hafiz & fuzzy pair are sponsored by Li Ning
11-08-2011, 02:37 AM #229
11-08-2011, 05:32 AM #230
Last edited by demolidor; 11-08-2011 at 05:34 AM.
11-08-2011, 10:29 AM #231
11-08-2011, 11:08 AM #232
Zulfadli Zulkifli said he has chosen to remain an independent player
Zulfadli Zulkifli said he has chosen to remain an independent player for now.
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Tuesday November 8, 2011
Future in Zul’s hands
By RAJES PAUL
SEPANG: There could be many interferences and obstructions but the future of newly-crowned junior world badminton champion Zulfadli Zulkifli is in his own hands.
Yesterday, the 18-year-old decided to stay faithful to his father cum fulltime coach Zulkifli Sidek as he begins his journey as a senior player - aspiring to become the Olympic and world champion and natural successor to world number one Lee Chong Wei.
Some have urged Zulfadli to try a new coaching style under a new trainer to raise his game to the next level. Some have even suggested that he should join the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) banner so as to get a chance to spar with Chong Wei regularly to speed up his development.
But Zulfadli has chosen to remain an independent player for now. He confirmed that he had no immediate plans to move his training base or switch allegiance to another mentor.
“I am fine with my father as coach,” said Zulfadli on arriving home to a hero’s welcome at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) yesterday. “Afterall, he has coached me all my life. I owe all my success so far to my father. I am confident he can steer me to the pinnacle at senior level as well.
“Of course, things will have to change. I will have to increase the intensity of training to cope with the more demanding challenges in the world of the big boys,” added Zulfadli, who was born in Los Angeles while his father was a coach with the United States Olympic badminton team from 1991-1992.
Zulfadli, currently ranked a lowly 207 in the rankings, defeated defending champion and world No. 43 Viktor Axelsen of Denmark on Sunday to become the country’s first junior world champion in the sport.
His 53-year-old father, a former coaching director with the National Sports Council (MSN), said he would have to chart a new course for his eldest son.
“I am happy to be his personal coach. It is a dream come true seeing him scale the heights and do the nation proud. I am not boasting but I have the necessary credentials and knowledge to take him to the very top,” he said.
Zulkifli said that early exposure to international tournaments and sparring with many top players had benefitted Zulfadli. He thanked their sponsors - especially professional club KLRC - for having faith and taking a gamble with a young talent like Zulfadli.
“Zulfadli was 11 years old when he took part in his first junior international tournament. By 13, he had already won several titles. All that exposure gave him an edge,” said Zulkifli.
Sparring sessions with his KLRC team-mates - former national players Mohd Hafiz Hashim, Wong Choong Hann, Tan Chun Seang and international shuttler Nguyen Tien Minh of Vietnam - prior to the world junior meet obviously did him a world of good. As did the month-long centralised programme with the BAM players and quality matches with the national back-up team.
“There’s nothing wrong in Zulfadli enjoying the best of both worlds. He can still be an independent player and spar with those in the national set–up,” said dad.
“I hope BAM will let my son train at least twice a week with Chong Wei. Zulfadli will progress a lot faster and the country will surely benefit from this. We can have grand plans but it all depends on Zulfadli. His future is in his hands,” he said.
BAM president Datuk Seri Nadzmi Mohd Salleh said they would look into the request for Zulfadli to spar with Chong Wei regularly as he believed in an amicable partnership among all the stakeholders in the game.
“Chong Wei has his own schedule and plans. But this is something we can look into because the future of badminton and the interest of the nation come first,” said Nadzmi.
“We also hope that Zulfadli will look into the option of training under different coaches. The challenges will get bigger and it is important that Zulfadli is managed in the right way.”
But as dad Zulkifli said, Zulfadli will be the master of his own fate.
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11-08-2011, 08:25 PM #233
11-08-2011, 09:12 PM #234
“We also hope that Zulfadli will look into the option of training under different coaches. The challenges will get bigger and it is important that Zulfadli is managed in the right way."(BAM president, Datuk Seri Nadzmi Salleh)
Translation = "Join BAM!"
BAM, autocratic as ever...
11-08-2011, 10:37 PM #235
Mmm, this thread is not showing a good prospect for the young Zul. I hope it is only the thread, not the young lad... It is all about having accomplished something, being at the top, replacing LCW (hahaha he is still so far from that) ... Like he already arrived somewhere. It is worrying. He should know everything remains to be done, now there is only hope (not accomplishment) and hard hard work remains and also good luck.
The constant talk of "is he in BAM or not" does not also picture an easy ride on the years to come. To be among the best the boy needs everyone with him, not continuous struggle of bureaucracy and contradictory influences. How can a junior champion stays out of the national organization is indeed beyond comprehension (for a non-malaysian at least).
11-08-2011, 11:50 PM #236
"To be among the best the boy needs everyone with him, not continuous struggle of bureaucracy and contradictory influences" - This I agree.
However, BAM have always stated that they will look after 'National Interest' first (not players, coaches, and/or even Badminton in general).
I believe that Zulfadli Zulkifli needs to have people who will look after him first. And there is no other persons better to do this other than his father.
11-09-2011, 12:49 AM #237
11-09-2011, 03:15 AM #238