Friday February 1, 2013
Back-up shuttler Iskandar itching for action after recovering from accident
KUALA LUMPUR: A freak motorcycle accident at the start of the year has forced Malaysia’s promising men’s singles back-up shuttler Iskandar Zulkarnain Zainuddin to miss two important assignments – his first Malaysian Open Super Series and his first semester examination at Universiti Malaya (UM).
The 21-year-old skidded and fell into a drain while rushing to sit for an examination at UM.
It occurred just before the Malaysian Open, which was held at the Putra Stadium from Jan 16-20.
“There was a gaping hole just below my left knee. There was a lot of blood and I could see my bone.
“My friends took me to the hospital,” said the first-year sports management student as he recalled the horrific accident.
“All kinds of thoughts were in my mind. I was really upset and thought that my badminton career was over.
“It was a traumatic experience. Fortunately, I did not suffer any fractures and healed quite fast. I’m much better now.
“It was disappointing that I had to withdraw from the home tournament as I was really looking forward to it.”
But now, fully healed, he is raring for action again.
“I’m still on medical leave but the doctors have given me the green light to start training.
“I was in a hurry and started light training today (yesterday) but the stitches came off.
“Luckily, the wound is healing and there’s nothing to worry about,” he said.
The former Asian and World Junior runner-up is currently the top ranked back-up men’s singles shuttler under coach Hendrawan’s guidance.
The others training under him are Goh Soon Huat, Nur Mohd Azriyn Ayub, Goh Giap Chin and Loh Wei Sheng.
Iskandar is now determined to make up for lost time.
He has been entered for two tournaments – the Australian Open in Sydney (April 2-7) and Skycity New Zealand Open in Auckland (April 10-14).
But he is confident he will ready for both the tournaments.
“Usually, incidents like this will make a person stronger and I’m hoping for my badminton career to take a better turn from here on.
“I’m currently ranked 76th in the world and it’s time to improve on it,” said the skilful shuttler.
After the exit of national champion Misbun Ramdan Misbun from the national team on Jan 9, the focus is now on Iskandar and his team-mates to bridge the gap with seniors like Lee Chong Wei, Liew Daren, Chong Wei Feng and Mohd Arif Abdul Latif.
“I want to be a successful singles player. Hendrawan has been very supportive and pushes all of us in the team to narrow the gap with the seniors.
“The start has not been good but I know it can only can get better from here,” said Iskandar.
Iskandar has done well in the junior ranks. Besides his silver medals at the Asian and World Junior Championships, he also won the German Junior, Dutch Junior and Asean Schools meets.
It’s now time for him to master the game at the senior level.