K.M. BoopathyISKANDAR Zulkarnain Zainuddin impressively anchored Malaysia in the mixed team event but what the shuttler is really aiming for is to end his Asian Junior Championships outing with the boys' singles title at Juara Stadium in Bukit Kiara.
It was Iskandar's first gold in a major junior event and the shuttler is now looking forward to doubling the effort in the individual event.
"The pressure is off after the good performance in the team event, so I want to push for the singles gold in my last outing," said Iskandar.
"I haven't won a medal in the singles but if I can keep my momentum going there is a good opportunity. I am more relaxed now that we have already won a gold."
Iskandar received a first-round bye yesterday and will play Japan's Naoto Otaki in today's second round.
Debutant Zulfadli Zulkifli, seeded third, also received a bye and faces an easy second round against Cambodia's Sieng Kimhong, while Misbun Ramdan Misbun has a tricky clash against Gideon Marcus Fernaldi of Indonesia.
Syawal Ismail was the first player to reach the third round and did so without playing a match as the 10th seed, who received a first-round bye, then progressed when his second round opponent Gregory Harb withdrew yesterday.
In the girls' singles, four shuttlers advanced to the second round.
Tee Jing Yi, who was instrumental in Malaysia's victory in the team event, was forced to battle for her 21-15, 18-21, 21-19 win over Taiwan's Ching Hsu Ya. Sonia Cheah came through after thrashing Vatthanalay Sisouphanh of Laos 21-3, 21-3 while Yang Li Lian secured a 21-2, 21-2 win over Mongolia's Munkhbayar Dulamsuren.
Florah Ng was made to struggle before advancing with a 22-20, 22-20 win over P.V. Sindhu of India.
Courtesy of New Straits Times