Former All England champion Malaysian shuttler Muhammad Hafiz Hashim was carried away by the memories of old hunting ground after sealing victory in first encounter of the All-England qualifying tournament on March 6, 2012.
Hafiz Hashim, who missed the tournament last year, registered his presence and stepped forward by nailing Chan Yan Kit of Hong Kong in just 29 minutes with convincing score of 21-11 and 21-15.
The World Number 32 men’s singles shuttler Hafiz Hashim emerged as champion in All England Open nine years ago and the victory was so auspicious for him that later he not only bagged the Swiss Open title but paved his path to the finals of German and Denmark opens also.
The Malaysian was contented and bit nostalgic after clearing the first hurdle in the event and he cherished the fond memories of the venue.
Hashim said, “I won the title here nine years ago. The stadium looks much better and presentable. The lighting and court arrangement are nicely done. It is in excellent playing condition for players.”
The second top Malaysian player, after World Number one Lee Chong Wei, Hafiz Hashim was likely to participate in three tournaments, the German, the Swiss and the All England Opens but later he decided to grace only All England Open with his presence.
He admitted that the chance of earning more world ranking points forced him to prefer All England Open over the other two events.
Hafiz said, “I will win more ranking points if I clear the opening round in the All-England rather than reaching the quarter-finals in the Swiss Open.”
He is confident to register his mark in upcoming Axiata Cup and Thomas Cup Finals team events. The 30-year-old Malaysian looked satisfied with his training which has helped him to elevate his physical strength.
Hafiz said, “I have been doing weight training since January, which I think has been quite helpful. I am playing with more planning now – making sure that I am not pushing myself too hard – especially at this age.”
The veteran Malaysian shuttler is looking for past glory and it is a real challenge to keep focus at this age when modern game techniques have entirely changed pace of the game.
So far, Hafiz is determined to swing his arms and stretch his legs to full, until he reaches at the peak of his badminton craft.