Malaysia's chances of making an impact in the singles category of the upcoming All England Championships suffered another severe blow when national number two Iskandar Zulkarnain confirmed he was pulling out of the tournament due to an aggravation of his back injury.
The 25-year-old's decision comes weeks after Lee Chong Wei opted out of the the annual event, scheduled for 7 to 12 March, after suffering a medial collateral ligament (MCL) tear last Saturday when he was training at the newly-opened BAM academy in Bukit Kiara.
While both the shuttlers have not opened their campaign yet in the ongoing season, Iskandar missed the Malaysia Masters in Sibu in January but was scheduled to recover in time for the inaugural edition of Badminton Asia Mixed Team Championships, starting today at Ho Chi MInh City in Vietnam where Malaysia are grouped with Sri Lanka and Indonesia in Group B.
While it is confirmed that Lim Chi Wing and Soong Joo Ven will represent Malaysia in the absence of Iskandar in Vietnam, Zulfadli Zulkiffli has been drafted into the main draw for the All England Championships.
The world number 31 revealed that his injury has worsened and that he did not want to rush back to the courts despite losing an opportunity to feature in his first All England tournament. Iskandar though plans to get back to action at the Malaysia Open, starting 4 April.
"I was cleared to return to training at the start of this month but the injury got worse. The doctors have ordered me to undergo another six weeks of rehabilitation," Iskandar said, as quoted by The Star.
"It is so disappointing because I really wanted to compete in my first All-England. But I think it is better to make a full recovery and return to action at the Malaysian Open [April 4-9]."