KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia have finally nailed the Indonesian Open men’s doubles title that had eluded them for 18 years with Mohd Zakry Abdul Latif-Mohd Fairuzizuan Mohd Tazari rising to the occasion to win it yesterday.
Malaysia's Mohd Fairuzizuan Mohd Tazari, left and Mohd Zakry Abdul Latif show their medals and prize check after winning the men's doubles final of Djarum Indonesia Open badminton championship at Istora stadium in Jakarta, Indonesia, Sunday, June 22, 2008. The Malaysian team defeated the mix team of Tony Gunawan of the United States and Candra Wijaya of Indonesia 19-21, 21-18, 21-14. (AP Photo/Erwin Ferdiansyah)
And even stomach cramps to Fairuzizuan did not deter the Malaysian duo, who were seeded eighth, from giving their best to beat 2000 Sydney Olympics gold medallists Tony Gunawan-Candra Wijaya 19-21, 21-18, 21-14 in a 53-minute final at the Istora Senayan in Jakarta yesterday.
Simply the best: Zakry and Fairuzizuan celebrating after they beat Tony Gunawan-Candra Wijaya to win the Indonesia Open.
With the win over the American-Indonesian combination yesterday, Zakry-Fairuzizuan are the only second Malaysian pair after Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong to win back-to-back international Open titles.
They were the champions at the Singapore Open last week.
Fairuzizuan almost gave up after suffering from stomach cramp when they were leading 17-14 in the opening game.
“We went on the attack from the start. It was very close as we exchanged the lead several times until we took the lead. Then, I felt the pain in my stomach after going for several smashes,” said Fairuzizuan in a telephone interview from Jakarta yesterday.
“I felt like fainting due to the sharp pain. I hung on but we lost the game. We are playing in the final and we did not want to give up. I was determined to stay focussed and with strong support from Zakry, we bounced back strongly to score this memorable win.
“We believe in each other’s ability and I think, the trust was the key to our success.”
Zakry said that it was proud moment for them to be the first Malaysian men’s doubles champions in an Open tournament of a country known for their prowess in the game.
“Our target this year was to win one title and we have now done better with two. We are feeling very confident of ourselves now, especially after having beaten an experienced pair like Tony and Candra,” he said.
It is the second win in three meetings for Zakry-Fairuzizuan over the vastly experienced pair. Their other win was also achieved in the Indonesian Open, in the semi-finals last year.
“We wished that we had struck such good form earlier when we were fighting for a place in the Beijing Olympics. But we will continue to work hard and be recognised as a pair who can perform consistently well in tournaments,” said Zakry.
Zakry-Fairuzizuan are down to play in the Thailand Open, which start on Wednesday. But they are waiting for the green light from doubles chief coach Rexy Mainaky to opt out of the tournament.