Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Ramdan’s burning desire

LEGACY: Player wants to continue Sidek family’s Thomas Cup tradition

MISBUN Ramdan Misbun’s dream is to continue the legacy of the Sidek family in the Thomas Cup.
Regarded as one of the most promising local shuttlers, the World No 48 will play national player Goh Soon Huat in a special trial for a spot in the 10-member Thomas Cup squad at Juara Stadium in Bukit Jalil today.

The winner of this match will join World No 1 Lee Chong Wei, Chong Wei Feng and Liew Daren along with six doubles players in the competition in New Delhi on May 18-25.

Ramdan, the son of former national champion Misbun Sidek, was supposed to take on Zulfadli Zulkiffli yesterday with the winner playing Soon Huat but the former world junior champion did not show up. It is believed that the World No 59 has not recovered from an injury.

The BA of Malaysia (BAM) had a trial last month with Soon Huat topping independent shuttlers Tan Chun Seang and Arif Latif but nullified the results to accommodate Ramdan and Zulfadli, who were absent due to various reasons.

“Zulfadli did not turn-up but I heard he replied the invitation with a medical letter today. I believe he has not returned to full fitness after getting injured in the recent Malaysian GP Gold. We will continue with the trial with Ramdan facing Soon Huat for the fourth singles slot,” said national coach Rashid Sidek yesterday.

On whether Zulfadli’s absence has interrupted the team’s preparation for the Thomas Cup, Rashid felt the shuttler should have informed BAM earlier over his unavailability.

“We could have completed the trial today (yesterday). As a coach, I am only doing my duty and giving opportunities to players to fight for a spot in the team,” said Rashid, a former Olympic bronze medallist.

Rashid is anticipating a good match between Ramdan and Soon Huat.
“We can expect a quality match and healthy rivalry between two upcoming players. It will be tough to predict the outcome,” he added.

Ramdan, who is coached by his father, is making the grade in Europe-based lower-tier competitions with four victories to his name since December.

His uncles, Rashid, Razif, Jalani and Rahman played a pivotal role in Malaysia’s last Thomas Cup victory 22 years ago in Kuala Lumpur. Ramdan, a former national champion, is hoping to emulate them.

However, Ramdan’s dream could be squashed today as his opponent Soon Huat, a finalist of last year’s Malaysian GP Gold, is determined to make his debut in the Thomas Cup.

“I am in good shape heading to this match. Ramdan has his qualities so do I. If I win today, it will be good for my confidence but if I lose, I will fight on to earn a spot in the team for the next Thomas Cup,” said Soon Huat.

Soon Huat lost to Ramdan once — at the Malaysian Open qualifying tournament in January — but beat him twice last year.

Misbun Ramdan Misbun has won four Europe-based lower-tier competitions since December.

Read more: Ramdan’s burning desire - Badminton - New Straits Times

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