SPORTS

MUHAMMAD HAIKAL DREAMS OF BREAKING INTO WORLD'S TOP 20 BY YEAR END

05/04/2024 04:17 PM

KUALA LUMPUR, April 5 (Bernama) -- Having broken into the top 30 of the world ranking last month, national doubles shuttler Muhammad Haikal Nazri has set his sights on breaking into the world's top 20 with his partner Choong Hon Jian by the end of this year.

Muhammad Haikal said their achievement in making the top 30 in the world has motivated him to chase more titles, including in Super 750 and Super 100 status tournaments, and achieve their dream of finishing in the highest position possible in their career at the end of this season.

"So far, we have only played in the Super 100 and Super 300 tournaments, which are not very challenging. We have not been partners for a long time but we've still made the top 30.

"Excited about wanting to join the bigger tournaments (Super 750 and Super 1000) and winning more titles. The higher the tournament's level, the greater my motivation,” he told reporters after a training session at Akademi Badminton Malaysia (ABM) in Bukit Kiara here today.

The 21-year-old also said that he will strive to bounce back immediately from defeats as it's common for all pairs to go through highs and lows in their careers.

Muhammad Haikal said that since he and Hon Jian were first paired up last August, they had set themselves two targets - to be placed as high as possible in the world rankings and become the country's top combination.

Muhammad Haikal-Hon Jian have, so far, bagged three World Tour titles - the Super 300 Syed Modi International in Lucknow, India last November, the World Tour Super 100 Guwahati Masters also in India last December and the Orleans Masters in France last month.

Muhammad Haikal, who is from Kelantan, admitted that there is stiff competition in the men's doubles camp for a place in the squad for the 2024 Thomas Cup Finals, which will be held in Chengdu, China from April 27 to May 5.

He said this is because they have to compete against the likes of 2022 world champions and world number five Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik; Man Wei Chong-Tee Kai Wun (world number 18); Goh Sze Fei-Nur Izzuddin Rumsani (world number 19); and Wan Muhammad Arif Wan Junaidi-Yap Roy King (world number 50) to impress the coaches and earn a spot in the squad for the 2024 Thomas Cup Finals.

Malaysia, seeded fifth for the 2024 Thomas Cup Finals, are in Group D with European giants and 2016 champions Denmark, Hong Kong and Algeria.

-- BERNAMA


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