Official Website of Brunei Darussalam National Olympic Council
Bittersweet trip for Aiman in M'sia
Thursday, April 17, 2014

Mohd Aiman Abdullah got more than what he bargained for at the second leg of the BMW Malaysian National Circuit 2014 in Kuala Lumpur.

Qualifying for the Tier 2 final, the country's most active touring national player had to give the championship decider a pass since he would not have been able to catch his return flight to Brunei during the April 5-9 event.

Aiman kicked off his campaign with a 7-5, 6-4 defeat to Sri Aakash, one of Malaysia's top junior players, in the first round of Tier 1 competition.

The defeat plunged him into Tier 2, where he won the first round match via walkover against Kuala Lumpur's Arin Sanjay.

The 21-year-old went on to beat his doubles partner Augustine Chang 6-1, 6-1 and progressed into the top-16 after defeating Wan M Fakhrul of Pahang 6-2, 6-1.

He eased past Muhammad Zaki of Sarawak 6-2, 6-0 in the quarter-finals before easily dispatching Bharath Reddiyar of Terengganu 6-0, 6-0 in the last-four to enter the final.

The Bruneian then gifted Alvin Teng the title as the time of the match would see him miss his flight home.

In addition, the RM500 prize money for winning Tier 2 would not cover the costs of changing his ticket and accommodation.

In addition, the RM500 prize money for winning Tier 2 would not cover the costs of changing his ticket and accommodation.

"My intention was to play as much as possible and I'm happy as I went out there to do my best despite my training schedule," said Aiman last week.

"I was surprised with the way I played against Aakash. My shot making was good and I didn't panic even though I was trailing.

"I was down 3-0 as I didn't settle down yet, but I managed to win the next four games to take the lead. We both held serve and it got to 5-5 but I lacked that extra energy that my opponent had to win the first set.

"In the second set I played a shot that landed on the line but was called out. It would have put me in the lead at 5-3.

"I didn't make the dispute and it sort of affected my mentality.

"I'm feeling motivated right now and I'm looking to go back on tour again soon. It was a good start for me and it was totally worth going there.

"The level is different from Singapore as it is much higher.

"I will get at least four matches (including doubles event) when I compete in Malaysia," continued Aiman, who recently captured the Brunei Darussalam Tennis Association (BDTA) Open Men's Doubles 1st Leg 2014 title with former Brunei No 1 Pg Aki Ismasufian Pg Hj Ibrahim.

Aiman got two extra matches in Malaysia after making it into the second round of the doubles event.

Together with Chang, they defeated Afiq Hakim and Muaz Azahar from Terengganu 6-0, 6-3 in the opener before getting dropped 6-3, 6-3 by the Indonesian pairing of Hemat Bhakti and Indra Adhiguna.

The Bruneian identified what needs to be done in order to take his game up to another level, saying that improving his fitness will be even more of a priority.

"I feel that the standard is not too far in terms of technique. Coach (ex-national tennis coach Fan Po Hoa) has built me for it and I feel that we are quite equal," explained Aiman.

"Malaysia is now pushing on fitness and they train outdoors twice a day. Aakash has been in an academy for more than a month now for solid and intensive training.

"I'll need to work on my physical side and also try to get some sparring done after that. I'll require it (fitness) to last the whole match," he added.

"I believe in 'strong body, strong mind', and the mind will automatically be strong if the body is," concluded Aiman.

The national tennis player has been providing private lessons to make ends meet and to fund his travels to compete internationally.

He already has some coaching experience under his belt by lending a hand to the national junior scheme for Under-12s on Fridays at the National Tennis Centre at the Hassanal Bolkiah National Sports Complex in Berakas.

Courtesy from Brunei Times