Iskandar Zulkarnain, Soniia Cheah win Malaysia national title

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Iskandar Zulkarnain wins his second Malaysia national championships. (photo: NSTP)
Iskandar Zulkarnain wins his second Malaysia national championships. (photo: NSTP)

Kuala Lumpur: Both Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) players Iskandar Zulkarnain Zainuddin and Soniia Cheah have successfully lifted the men’s singles and women’s singles titles respectively at the 2018 Malaysia national badminton championships on Saturday.

Iskandar Zulkarnain’s who had won the same title in 2015, dominated the final by defeating his sparring partner in the national team, and Malaysia’s No. 2 men’s singles player Lee Zii Jia 21-19, 21-16 in only 31 minutes.

“It’s a great victory for me after coming back from my injuries. I played well today while Zii Jia’s attack was not as strong as expected, and he also made a lot of mistakes,” said Zulkarnain.

“Although Zii Jia always defeated me during the training, but I’ve decided to rise to the occasion in the final. My target for this year would be to reach World’s top 20.” added Zulkarnain.

Meanwhile, Lee Zii Jia told reporters that he was struggling to find his own rhythm in the final.

“I spar with Iskandar all the time, and I’m not surprise to lose to him. I was impatient, and my stamina was not good either,” said Lee.

Lee was still not fully recovered from a cold that has been bothering him throughout the whole tournament.

In women’s singles, Soniia Cheah captured her first Malaysia national title when she outlasted her teammate in national team Selvaduray Kisona 21-14, 21-19 in the women’s singles final. Cheah also enjoy a double celebration after BAM has confirmed to list her as the sole women’s singles player for the Malaysian Commonwealth Games squad. Cheah will represent her country at the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia, from April 4-15.

In men’s doubles, Rio Olympic silver medalists Goh V Shem/Tan Wee Kiong had to hold off spirited challenge from non-BAM players Mohd Arif Abdul Latif/Nur Mohd Azriyn Ayup 21-17, 19-21, 21-15 to win their first title after getting back together since last December.

Next up for Goh V Shem/Tan Wee Kiong will be the 2018 All England. (photo: NSTP)
Next up for Goh V Shem/Tan Wee Kiong will be the 2018 All England. (photo: NSTP)

“Both Arif and Azriyn used to be men’s singles players, their playing style was different than regular men’s doubles player. It was a good victory for us,” said Goh V Shem after the match.

Meanwhile, No. 2 seeds Goh Soon Huat/Shevon Jemie Lai cemented their status as the best mixed doubles pair in Malaysia after they beat No. 1 seeds Tan Kian Meng/Lai Pei Jing 21-17, 21-17 to clinch the Malaysian national title. This was Goh/Lai’s third consecutive victory against Tan/Lai so far this year.

The women’s doubles final saw scratch pair Goh Yea Ching/Soong Fie Cho seeing off Chow Mei Kuan/Yap Cheng Wen 21-19, 22-24 to take home the RM20k prize money.

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