MISBUN Ramdan Misbun, after spending most of his time competing in Europe, made a winning return to local competition at the Kuala Lumpur Open yesterday.
Looking physically stronger and standing at 1.8m, Ramdan easily defeated national player Goh Giap Chin 21-11, 21-15 to reach the second round at the Kuala Lumpur Stadium.
Ramdan made heads turn after becoming national champion at the age of 21 last year and then dropped a bombshell by leaving BAM to rejoin his father Misbun Sidek in training.
Since then, he was only confined to playing in minor tournaments in Europe where he won the lowly Hellas, Slovenia and Portugal International to be ranked World No 44.
Ramdan said the European tournaments have made him independent and he has also adapted to playing in cold climates.
"I had a lot friends when I was in BAM but now I am more independent. I played in smaller tournaments so that I can have the winning feeling and I have already achieved that," said Ramdan.
"Whether I will start playing in grand prix events depends on my father's programme.
"I hope that I can do well in this tournament to qualify for the national grand prix finals and defend my title."
Ramdan will play national junior Soong Joo Ven, who defeated Lim Chen Wet of Malacca 21-18, 21-18, in the second round today.
Top seed Chong Wei Feng, who received a bye, will play Nur Muslim Abdullah of Armed Forces while second seed Liew Daren, who also received a bye in the first round, plays Oh Soon Keon of KL.
Former national player Ramesh Nathan also cleared the first round after beating Samuel Nesan and will play back-up player Loh Wei Sheng today.