dailypeghamKARACHI: Zohaib Khan Khalil, a rising star part of a four-member squad which will travel to Bangkok to represent Pakistan in the SCG Badminton Asia Junior Championship, is confident of at least a semi-final finish at the July 9-17 event.

The 17-year-old has represented Pakistan in the last two editions but has only managed to reach the quarter-finals at best — in 2015. However, this time he is hopeful of making it to the last-four. “I am aiming to finish in the final or at least [in the] semi-final this time as I have improved my skills,” Khalil told The Express Tribune.

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Khalil started playing badminton in 2011 and has improved drastically over the years, emerging as one of the best junior players in the country.

And, just like almost every other sportsman in the country, his journey has not been easy. “We do not have many facilities here and we even have to buy the shuttlecocks on our own,” he said. “Since I started playing badminton, I have participated in international events on my own but thankfully now, at least, I have the backing of a sponsor.”

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Khalil further revealed that the Pakistan Badminton Federation (PBF) has promised to bear the travelling expenses of the squad this time in addition to the Rs400 daily allowance that they give to the players.

Shahmeer Iftikhar, Shehroz Jamil and Ahmer Jalal are the other three players to travel to Bangkok with Khalil for the championship.