Malaysian badminton squad on the down low in SEA Games

Malaysian badminton squad on the down low in SEA Games
Singles badminton player, Mohd Arif Abdul Latif, from Malaysia

SINGAPORE - The swagger is missing from the Malaysian badminton team which arrived in Singapore.

That's hardly surprising considering the poor form of the shuttlers of late - except for a certain Lee Chong Wei.

Apart from the 32-year-old ex-world no.1, who will only compete in the team event, the rest of the players will find it tough against some of the Indonesian youngsters.

This means Indonesia are the firm favourites for the team gold medal.

Jonathan Christie, 17, and Anthony Ginting 18, beat several higher-ranked players to make the quarter-finals in the ongoing Indonesian Open. Ihsan Maulana Mustofa and Firman Abdul Kholik, both 17, have also been impressive.

With Chong Wei Feng (first singles) and independent player Mohd Arif Abdul Latif (third singles) struggling for form, Malaysia's chances are looking rather slim for both the team and men's singles competitions.

But the 25-year-old Arif, who lost to Ihsan in the qualifiers of the Indonesian Open, believes he's ready to make amends.

"I've had a good preparation prior and there are just a few areas of my game that I need to fix. I played quite well during the Australian Open two weeks ago but I had a terrible performance in Indonesia. That was probably my worst game and that's my main worry," said Arif.

"I can't wait to take on the Indonesian youngsters again. But I need to get my tactics right. I'm in good physical condition, so that's not a worry."

Arif is also slated to compete in the individual event with Wei Feng.

The badminton competition starts with the team event on June 10. The individual event starts on June 13.

The Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) are targeting four finals. It's now up to the shuttlers to meet that target.

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