KUALA LUMPUR: The national back-up shuttlers led by Mohd Arif Abdul Latif are ready to take up the challenge thrown at them by newly-appointed men’s singles coach Hendrawan.
For now, Arif said that the Indonesian former world champion wanted from them full commitment and unwavering attention in training.
Besides Arif, the others under the charge of Hendrawan are Tan Chun Seang, Chong Wei Feng and Liew Daren.
“He wants us to give him in training the same commitment that we give during competition. He had a one-to-one talk with all of us,” said Arif.
Although the style of training differs from their coach of four years, Rashid Sidek, Arif said that both had the same focus.
“Like Rashid, Hendrawan also gives greater concentration in what is lacking in our game and the touch is more personalised. It is all about hard work and quality in training. We consider this as a new phase of life in our badminton careers,” he said.
Arif’s room at the hostel in Bukit Kiara here is next to Hendrawan.
“I have to pass his room each time I get in and out of my room. In fact, all my other team-mates are near me. It is indeed a new experience,” he said.
With the change of environment in training, Arif said that he had also taken time to renew his commitment and goal.
“I for one has found the going tough with the transition from a junior to a senior player this year. Probably, I am slower than the others in moving up,” he said.
“The commitment is higher as a senior player. I am ready to raise my own expectations now and I hope to be in the top 32 by the end of the year.
“One of my main goals is to qualify for the quarter-finals of an Open tournament before the end of the year.”
The 2008 Asian junior runner-up had his biggest breakthrough when he was named as the reserve in the squad for the Thomas Cup Finals last year.
And many are still waiting for Arif to justify the big honour, which he received a year ago.