Thu, Jul 31, 2003 - Page 19 News List

Rain halts play at world badminton championships

AFP , BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND

Rain stopped play at the world badminton championships here on Tuesday -- a remarkable achievement even for Britain's notoriously unpredictable weather, given that the shuttlecock sport is being held in the National Indoor Arena.

But when the drizzle found its way through an air vent action on court number four was delayed for more than two hours before a large plastic sheet was used to plug the gap.

The incident was matched by surprises on the court.

Two brothers will play each other for the first time in a world badminton championship after Muhammad Roslin Hashim, who did not originally qualify to play in the tournament, caused an upset in the first round of the men's singles.

Roslin, who beat the 12th seeded Thai Open champion Boonsak 15-12, 15-9, was only a last moment substitute after the world championships were postponed because of the SARS virus.

Had the world championships taken place in May as planned, Roslin would not have competed because he was not in the world's top three. But when several players dropped out 10 weeks later Malaysia was allowed by the rules to have four entries.

The former world No. 1 from Malaysia, the top seed at the last world championships in Seville in 2001, grabbed his chance magnificently in a match in which both men switched from defense to attack and back again in a riot of breathtaking rallies.

It earned Roslin a meeting with his younger brother Muhammad Hafiz Hashim, who caused a sensation in this same arena five months ago when he won the All-England Open title as an unseeded player.

On that occasion Roslin narrowly missed playing Hafiz, losing in the semifinals and rushing off to catch a flight, only learning that Hafiz had grabbed the title when his brother sent him a text message.

Now Hafiz came through by beating Stanislav Pukhov of Russia 15-5, 15-5, and will face Roslin for only the second time in a tournament.

That was in the semifinals of the Dutch Open three years ago when Roslin won in straight games. There will be a hierarchy to overthrow if the tables are to be turned.

"I love the Birmingham venue because I have good memories of winning the All-England here," said Hafiz. "We will both fight to win."

This story has been viewed 3157 times.
TOP top