By : K.M. Boopathy
THOUGH Hafiz Hashim has not done anything significant this year to repair his battered pride, coach Misbun Sidek believes that the former All England champion will bounce back.
Misbun’s optimism is based on Hafiz’s improved discipline during and after training and that he has recovered fully from injuries.
Misbun did not set a target for the 25-year-old in the recent World Championships (he fell in the third round to Anup Sridhar of India) because of his inconsistency.
However, Misbun feels that Hafiz is regaining his form if his work ethics is anything to go by.
"Hafiz has recovered from injuries and he has been working very hard in training. He is more disciplined now and I’m confident he will bounce back," said Misbun.
"I’m happy with his progress and I’m hoping to see him produce good results in tournaments again."
Hafiz had said during the World Championships that he has cut down on his late nights and is more disciplined especially after training.
Hafiz had also talked about his aim to rediscover his attacking flair and put more punch into his game again. His attacking flair was evident in patches against Anup.
If Misbun’s assessment is correct, Hafiz should look forward to the India Open in Hyderabad on Sept 4-9 with renewed confidence.
Hafiz, who has a first round bye, will meet India’s Anand Pawar in the second round and is likely to play up-and-coming compatriot Chan Kwong Beng in the third round.
Hafiz should go through, and in the quarter-finals he will get the opportunity to prove he is in the big time with a good result against Olympic champion Taufik Hidayat of Indonesia.
To qualify for next year’s Beijing Olympics, Hafiz needs to improve his world ranking, having dropped out of the top 10 to World No 15.