KUALA LUMPUR: Leaving your loved ones behind is the hardest thing to do – especially on the first day of Hari Raya.
But that’s exactly what national men’s doubles shuttlers Mohd Zakry Abdul Latif-Mohd Fairuzizuan Mohd Tazari (pic) will be doing and that is also why they are determined to make up for it by doing well in the Japan Open, which will begin on Wednesday.
The seventh seeds Zakry-Fairuzizuan will leave for Japan tonight with the country’s top pair, Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong.
The national men’s doubles pairs are ready to make their presence felt again on the international stage after skipping the ongoing China Masters in Changzhou.
Zakry said they felt blessed that they could at least spend some time to go for prayers together in the morning.
“We have grown accustomed to this although our hearts want us to stay put here. We have missed the Hari Raya celebration for the last two years. This time, we are grateful that we get to spend at least some time together with our family on the first day,” he said.
The duo are in high spirits, especially after defying the odds to reach the semi-finals of the World Championships at Hyderabad last month.
Zakry said they would be bidding to win their first title in two years in Japan.
“Our families will be really happy if we can end our title drought in Japan. It will at least justify our absence during this festive season,” he said.
The duo, who last won the back-to-back Super Series in Singapore and Indonesia in 2007, have been drawn in the same half as second seeds Kien Keat-Boon Heong, South Koreans Lee Yong-dae-Jung Jae-sung and Danes Lars Paaske-Jonas Rasmussen.
Barring any upsets, Zakry-Fairuzizuan are expected to face the Koreans in the last eight while Kien Keat-Boon Heong may meet the Danes at the same stage.
“It will be great if we can make it an all-Malaysian affair in the semi-finals. Yong-dae withdrew from the China Masters because of an injury. We are not sure if he will turn up in Japan. Whether he is there or not, we will give our best,” said Zakry.
Zakry-Fairuzizuan have never beaten the Koreans before.
Indonesians Markis Kido-Hendra Setiawan will make a return to competition after missing the world meet and the top seeds will be the favourites to make the final from the top half of the draw.
The others in their half are world champions Cai Yun-Fu Haifeng of China, Denmark’s Mathias Boe-Carsten Morgensen and Indonesians Alven Yulianto-Luluk Hadiyanto.