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Maliekal wins Uganda International title for SA
- Updated: February 25, 2015
By Mark Etheridge
A member of Team South Africa at the Commonwealth Games in Scotland last year, badminton’s Jacob Maliekal has come up tops in the Uganda International Championships in Lugogo.
In winning the tournament that featured players from 17 nations, Maliekal made up for the disappointment of losing in the final of last year’s tournament.
To claim gold, the Malaysia based player beat Egyptian Ali Ahmed Khateeb 11-8 12-10 11-2 at the MTN Arena.
En route to the final he also has the satisfaction of beating top seeded Milan Ludik (world No97) of the Czech Republic in the semi-final, after a tough four-set affair.
El Khateeb had earlier beaten Maliekal’s team-mate Prakash Vijayanath, also in four games.
Maliekal told Road to Rio 2016: ‘It was great to win the International this year as I fell short in the final last year. I’m happy to have won this title despite tough playing conditions.
‘I was able to adapt well and the results followed. This is a confidence booster for me as there were quite a few strong Europeans there and now I’m looking forward to competing in more tournaments to increase my world ranking for the Olympic qualifying period.
Elaborating about tournament conditions, Maliekal said: ‘There was a lot of wind in the hall which made it very hard to control the shuttle, also the lighting made it hard to see the shuttle in certain positions.
‘Now I’m just waiting to hear what tournaments are next so I’m just back in training and I’m working hard to get better results in upcoming tournaments.
My ranking now is about 165th and not my highest because I haven’t been playing tournaments, the more tournaments I play the higher my ranking will become. The Olympic qualifying period starts at the beginning of May so I hope to play more tournaments before then.’
The Ugandan tournament also saw representation from Algeria, Bulgaria, Egypt, Hungary, India, Iran, Kenya, Mauritius, Nigeria, Seychelles, Slovakia, Slovenia, Turkey and Zambia.