Asian Juniors 2016 KL

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Asian Junior Squash Champs 2016
20-24 Sep, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

24-Sep, Finals:
B13: Asad Ullah (Pak) bt Andrik Lim (Mas) 11-6, 11-7, 11-3
B15: Danial Nurhaqiem (Mas) bt Muhammad Amir (Mas) 14-12, 11-6, 11-8
B17: Abbas Zeb (Pak) bt Tushar Shahani (Ind) 11-7, 11-8, 14-16, 11-7.
B19: Velavan Senthilkumar (Ind) bt Mohd Alsarraj (Jor) 12-14,9-11,11-6,11-8,11-7
G13: Aira Azman (Mas) bt Kristle Wong Po Yui (HK) 13-11, 11-9, 11-6
G15: Aifa Azman (Mas) bt Chan Sin Yuk (HK) 14-12, 7-11, 11-6, 11-5
G17: Lui Hiu Lam (HK) bt Lai Wen Li (Mas) 11-7, 11-6, 11-6
G19: S. Sivasangari (Mas) bt Satomi Watanabe (Jpn) 11-8, 11-7, 4-11, 11-9

Malaysia take four of eight titles in KL
By Maheshwari Dorai Rajah

MALAYSIA dominated the CIMB Foundation 23rd Asian Junior individual squash championships when they bagged four of the eight tltles at stake at the National Squash Centre in Bukit Jalil today.

With the result, Malaysian fulfilled their target of winning at least four titles.

Home favourite Sivasangari Subramaniam was all fired up to complete her goal by winning the Girls' Under-19 title. The 17-year-old lass from Kedah took 44 minutes to upstage her nemesis Satomi Watanabe of Japan 11-8, 11-7, 4-11, 11-9.

And it was sheer joy for Sivasangari as she had previously won all the titles at stake in the age group - Girls' Under-13, Under-15, and Under-17. The Under-19 is the icing on the cake.

"I want to thank my coach Ong Beng Hee who is taking a lot of trouble to see my progress. He is really working hard to ensure I have the best training. It wasn't easy against Satomi till the last point but winning the Under-19 title is the highest level. Therefore, I am extremely glad with my achievement today. What more in the presence of my parents, brother and friends. It adds to my joy, " said Sivasangari.

Beng Hee was all praise for Sivasangari. "She is extremely disciplined and committed in her game which is showing results," said Beng Hee.

Earlier, sisters Aira and Aifa Azman led the ball rolling by winning the Girls' Under-13 and Under-15 title respectively while Danial Nurhaqiem Sharul Izham lifted the Boys' Under-15 title.

The topseeded Aira, who made her debut in the meet, humbled Hong Kong's Kristie Wong Po Yui 13-11, 11-9, 11-6 to record her first major title in her career.

Aira gave credit to her coaches Cheong Pak Kau and Andrew Cross for her win today.

"They have been working on my lengths, back hand volley and fitness to ensure that I play to my true form. I also told myself to be patient when I was trailing 7-10 in the opening set. I fought back and won the tie," said the Standard Six pupil from SK Jalan Pegawai in Alor Star, Kedah.

Older sister Aifa then came on court to justify her favourite tag after brushing aside a gritty Chan Sin Yuk, also from Hong Kong, with a 14-12, 7-11, 11-6, 11-5 scoreline.

Aifa started on a wrong footing as she trailed 7-0 in the opening game before she broke the duck. She rallied galllantly to narrow the deficit from 8-1 down to 8-7 before Sin Yuk surged ahead to hold game point 10-7. At this juncture, Aifa kept her composure to draw level saving three game points.

It was neck to neck till 12-12 before Aifa playing her opponent for the first time pulled off to win 14-12 to go 1-0 up.

Aifa came back strongly in the second to lead 6-2 but this time it was Sin Yuk who levelled 6-6 before the Hong Kong player won 11-7 to tie at 1-1. The Malaysian refused to let her guard down to win the next two 11-6, 11-5 to retain her Under-15 title. Final score 14-12, 7-11, 11-6, 11-5 in 46 minutes.

Victory was sweeter for the sisters as their eldest sister Aika (national back up player) and mother Anis Haniza Ahmad came from Alor Star to lend moral support.

"It was great winning at our own backyard especially with our mother watching the game. Aira's win motivated me to do better. In fact, I was eager to finish the game fast that I made too many errors. Fortunately, I got my grip back to win and justifying my top billing," said the 15-year-old lass who will be taking a short break to concentrate on her PT3 exam in Kedah in two weeks time.

Aifa also bagged the Girls' Under-13 title.

Danial Nurhaqiem Sharul Izham, the No 6 seed, stunned compatriot and topseed Muhammad Amir Amirul Azhar to lift the Boys'Under-15 title in an all Malaysian final.

It was Danial's first attempt in the Asian Juniors and he was happy to have won in his first appearence.
"Amirul and I train together and we know each other's game quite well. I promised my parents that I will do well after I did badly in the Penang Junior Open losing to teammate Duncan Lee in the semifinals. I felt a bit depressed after that loss and so worked really hard under coach Raymond Arnold to brush up on my flaws for this tourney," said Danial, who also bagged the Boys' Under-15 in the RedTone KL International Junior tournament at Bukit Jalil in December.

Topseed Andrik Lim and Lai We Li, the No 4 seed, failed to add on to the title galore after falling in the Boys' Under-13 and Girls' Under-17 final respectively.

India claim U19 title

India's emerging young player Velavan Senthilkumar did himself and his country proud by winning the U-19 title in the Asian Junior Individual Squash Championship.
The Chennai lad who trains at the Indian Squash Academy is also the second Indian to win this title,the earlier one being Ravi Dixit in 2010. Incidentally Dixit was also a trainee at the ISA.

In what was a long drawn final, Velavan came back from two games down to beat the Jordanian Mohammad Al-Sarraj 12-14, 9-11, 11-6, 11-8, 11-7. In terms of seedings, Velavan being second and Al-Sarraj, fourth but the Jordanian had in the semi-final accounted for the top seed and reigning world junior champion Ng Eain Yow of Malaysia and looked in fine nick for more.

According to coach Bala Murugan, Velavan took time to settle, even though his fighting qualities surfaced early. It was only after losing good ground that he changed tactics and decided to raise the pace of the match. Keeping the rallies long and laborious for the rival, the Indian made the Jordanian work hard and the resultant tiredness told on his game. Velavan was a different player once he tasted success in the third game.

A delighted national coach Cyrus Poncha, said in Chennai that the success was a great moment for Indian squash and a proof that the structured programme at the ISA brings up quality players. “I have been expecting this from Velvan and he has lived upto our expectations with his tremendous victory. It is a proud moment,”he said.

For India, there were two more creditable medal winners in Tushar Shahani who won a silver medal in boys’U-17 and Yash Fadte who earned a bronze in boys' U-15 section. Tushar went down to Pakistan’s eight seeded player AbbasZeb 7-11, 8-11, 16-14, 7-11 while Yash went down in four games to Danial Nurhaqiem Sharul Izham.

23-Sep, Semis:

[1] Sivasangari Subramaniam (Mas) 3-0 [4] Zoe Foo (Mas)
                   11/5, 11/5, 11/5 (17m)
[3] Satomi Watanabe (Jpn) 3-0 [2] Andrea Lee (Mas)
                   11/7, 11/6, 8/4 rtd (49m)
[4] Mohammad Alsaraj (Jor) 3-2 [1] Eain Yow Ng (Mas)
                 7/11, 6/11, 12/10, 13/11, 11/8 (76m)
[2] Velavan Senthilkumar (Ind) 3-1 [3] Ling To Yu (Hkg)
                 6/11, 11/2, 11/8, 11/6 (34m) 

23-Sep, Day FOUR:
Six Malaysians in finals at Ng crashes out

Reigning world junior champion and topseed Ng Eain Yow failed to make the Boys' Under-19 final in the CIMB Foundation 23rd Asian Junior individual squash championships after he succumbed to a gritty Jordanian Mohammad Al-Sarraj in the semi-finals tie at the National Squash Centre in Bukit Jalil today.

Eain Yow squandered a 2-0 lead and lost 11-7, 11-6, 10-12, 11-13, 8-11 against Mohammad, the No 4 seed, in a marathon 76-minute battle.

The 18-year-old KLite however gave credit to his opponent.

"To be honest, the last three games he was a better player. All credit to him. I did not do anything wrong but he took the critical points better. I thought a few calls could have been better. The ball was loose and he took his space. I expected the referee to be firm," said Eain Yow, adding that it was disappointing to let the fans down.

Eain Yow also felt he put undue pressure on himself and he will take it on a positively. "It's a stepping stone and a learning process for me," said Eain Yow.

With so many titles under his belt, Eain Yow will end his junior career without the Boys' Under-19 title in the Asian Juniors.

Eain Yow lost to Israr Ahmad of Pakistan in the final last year in Iran and now bowed out in the semi-finals.

Mohammad will play Indian No 2 seed Velavan Senthilkumar in the final. Velavan overcame an erratic start before beating Hong Kong's No 3 seed 6-11, 11-2, 11-8, 11-6 in the other semi-final.

Andrea Lee Jia Qi was all tears after she bowed out due to injury in the semi-final of the Girls' Under-19.

The No 2 seed from Kuala Lumpur had vowed to exact revenge over her nemesis Satomi Watanabe from Japan but had to withdraw midway into the third game.
Satomi, the No 3 seed, won the first two games 11-7, 11-6 and was leading the third game 8-4 when Andrea decided to retire as she aggravated her left ankle injury (swelling).

It was obvious the 18-year-old lass was unable to move around the courts as speed was her forte.

Prior to today's match, Andrea has only lost to Satomi once (3-2) at the Malaysian Junior Open held in Penang last month and she was hoping to reverse the score.

"I just could'nt move in the third. I twisted my left ankle two weeks ago and the injury got worse. I felt lousy to just give up without a fight," said a disappointed Andrea with tears in her eyes.

Satomi was not satisfied with the way she clinched her final berth.

"I'm happy to go into the final but I feel sad for Andrea who couldn't play her normal game due to injury. I sympathize with her and hope she recovers soon and come back with a bang," said the 17-year-old Japanese who is based in Penang and trains under coach Allan Soyza for the past three years.

Satomi will take on topseed and home favourite S. Sivasangari in the final. Sivasangari had an easy path to the final after strolling past her compatriot Zoe Foo Yuk Han 11-5, 11-5, 11-5 in just 17 minutes.

The 17-year-old Kedahan who won the bronze medal at the recent World junior championships said she is expecting a tough challenge from Satomi. "We are of the same standard and hopefully I can continue to keep my winning streak," said Sivasangari who is under the guidance of Ong Beng Hee.

The other Malaysians in the finals are sisters Aira (Girls' Under-13) and Aifa Azman (Girls Under-15), Lai Wen Li (Girls' Under-17), Andrik Lim (Boys' Under-13), Muhammad Amir Amirul Azhar and Danial Nurhaqiem Sharul Izham (both Boys' Under-15).

22-Sep, Day THREE:
Malaysians through to semis
Story by Maheshwari Dorai Rajah

THREE top Malaysians - S. Sivasangari, Andrea Lee Jia Qi and Zoe Foo Yuk Han along with Japanese Satomi Watanabe - booked their semifinals berth in contrasting fashion in the Girls' Under-19 CIMB Foundation 23rd Asian Junior individual squash championships at the National Squash Courts in Bukit Jalil.

With the top four - all keeping to formbook, the semifinals which will be played at the Glass court on Friday is expected to be an explosive affair.

Topseed Sivasangari was quick to dispose off No 11 seed Sunayna Kuruvilla of India 11-5, 11-6, 11-4 (23 minutes) in the opening quarterfinals tie while No 4 seed Zoe Foo crushed the hopes of another Indian Akanksha Salunke winning 11-8, 8-11, 11-7, 11-5 in 31 minutes.

Satomi, seeded No 3, overcame an erratic start before thrashing Teh Min En 6-11, 11-3, 11-1, 11-1 (27 minutes) to deny an all Malaysian semifinals affair.

Andrea Lee, surprisingly, was stretched to the limit before the No 2 seed from Kuala Lumpur bounced back to win 4-11, 11-6, 11-7, 10-12, 11-6 over Hong Kong's Ho Ka Wing in a marathon 43 minute battle.

In the semifinals on Friday, Sivasangari is pitted against Zoe Foo while Andrea takes on Satomi.

Both matches are expected to be evenly matched and it's anyone guess who will come out victorious.

As Sivasangari puts it clearly, "It's difficult to predict who will make it to the final. All four of us play quite often in tournaments that we know each other's game. We are all eager to win the title. Thus, the player who can cope with the pressure and make less mistakes should progress," admitted Sivasangari, who has a good track record in the championships. She has won the Girls' Under-13, Under-15, Under-17 and gunning to complete the rout by bagging the Under-19 as well.

Andrea, meanwhile, is troubled by a nagging right ankle injury which she sustained two weeks ago.

"I twisted my ankle thus find it hard to reach my length. Due to my injury, I am much slower which is my main concern. I have to keep guard when I play against Satomi, "said Andrea, who suffered a 3-1 beating over the Japanese at the Malaysian Junior Open in Penang last month.

Meanwhile, reigning world junior champion Ng Eain Yow was the only Malaysian left in the Boys' Under-19 after compatriot Ong Sai Hung bowed out in the quarterfinals.

Eain Yow dispatched off Abhay Singh of India, winning 11-9, 11-5, 11-6 in 30 minutes.

The 18-year-old meets Mohammad Al Sarraj of Jordan in the semifinals on Friday. Mohammad humbled Malaysia’s eight seed Ong Sai Hung 11-9, 13-11, 11-8 in 37 minutes.

“Despite the score it was not an easy game. Abhay played better than the last time we met at the third round of the recent world juniors,” said Eain Yow

.“I feel there’s still more room to improve and I’m looking forward to my next match against Mohammad Al-Sarraj. He is a top player and a finalist at the British Junior Open,"
said Eain Yow.

For the record, the last time these two met was in the pre-quarterfinals of the 2015 World Junior Championships where Eain prevailed in five games (11-6, 11-9, 11-13, 10-12, 11-6).

21-Sep, Day TWO:
Home favourites through to Quarters
Story by Maheshwari Dorai Rajah.

HOME favourites and topseeds Ng Eain Yow and S. Sivasangari breezed past their opponents enroute to booking their quarterifnals berth in the Boys' and Girls' Under-19 respectively in the CIMB Foundation 23rd Asian Junior individual squash championships at the National Squash Centre in Bukit Jalil.

Eain Yow needed only 23 minutes to thump India's Aryaman Adik 11-5, 11-3, 11-5 while Sivasangari made short work of No 14 seed Ghazal Sharafpour of Iran winning 11-6, 11-2, 11-7 in just 21 minutes in the second round today. They both received bye in the first round.

Playing in his first tourney since bagging the World Junior title in Poland last month, Eain Yow feels upbeat to end his junior career on a memorable note.
With the exception of the Under-19 title, EainYow has won all the titles at stake in the Asian Juniors - Boys' Under 15 in 2012, and Boys' Under-17 twice in 2013 and 2014. Last year, he lost 3-2 to Israr Ahmed of Pakistan in the Boys' Under-19 in Iran.

Now he so badly wants to add another feather in his cap by winning the Boys' Under-19 title, the last event in his junior career. Eain Yow will take on another Indian Abhay Singh, the No 5 seed, in the quarter-finals.

The 18-year-old from Kuala Lumpur is looking forward for another good performance against Abhay.

"I've beaten Abhay 3-0 in the third round of the recent World Juniors and I feel confident of repeating the feat. Since returning from Poland a month ago, I"ve had a good training stint under coach Andrew Cross. I feel good physically and mentally. However, I will take a cautious approach and keep my focus," said Eain Yow.

Abhay booked his place after defeating Korea's Ryu Han Dong 11-6, 9-11, 11-2, 11-6 (42 min) in the second round.

The 17-year-old Sivasangari from Kedah had an erratic start. But as the match progressed she took control and even had the gal to try out new techniques with Ghazal which paid off.

"I had a bad start and made some unforced errors. I couldn't get my dropshots as I had to adjust to the tin (from 17'' in PSA tournaments to 19'' here. So I tried to toy around with some new techniques, " said Sivasangari who is also gunning to win the Girls' Under-title. She has thus far won the Girls' Under-13, Under-15 and Under-17 in the same tourney.

The Kedahan will play India's No 11 seed Sunayna Kuruvilla in the last eight tomorrow (Thursday, Sept 22). Sunayna ousted No 8 seed Mami Sakai from Japan with a 12-10, 11-8, 11-6 drubbing in the second round.

Sivasangari admits her main challenge will come in the semi-finals where she is expected to meet compatriot Zoe Foo in the semi-finals barring any upset.

Sivasangari, who finished third in the recent World Juniors Girls' Under-19, however wants to remain low profile as she also claims another teammate Andrea Lee and Satomi Watanabe from Japan are the other strong contenders for the title,

Ong Sai Hung, the No 8 seed, is the other Malaysian to go through to the Boys' Under-19 quarterfinals after he downed Hong Kong's No 9 seed Lincoln Chan Wui Ki 11-9, 11-4, 9-11, 11-6 (53 min).

Andrea, Zoe Foo and Teh Min En also booked their place in the Girls' Under-19 quarterfinals.

20-Sep, Day ONE:
Malaysians sail into second round
Story by Maheshwari Dorai Rajah

MARCUS SIM Wei Jie was all smile after he bundled out 10th seed Ranjit Singh of India to move into the second round of the CIMB Foundation 23rd Asian Junior squash championships at the National Squash Centre in Bukit Jalil .

The 19 year-old from Kuching was in his element as he tamed Ranjit with a 11-8 11-5, 11-6 in just 33 minutes in his opening round tie in the Boys' Under-19.

The win was sweeter to him as he not only made his debut in the Asian Juniors but also scored an upsetwin over the more fancied Indian player.

Marcus will play No 4 seed Mohamad Al-Sarraj in the second round on Wednesday (Sept 21).

He was glad he could raise his game much better than when he played at the World Juniors at Poland last month.

"I fared badly at the World Junior championships where we finished 13th in the team event. So, I wanted to make up for the disappointment. I'm glad I could stick to my gameplan and win by a 3-0 margin, " said an elated Marcus, adding that he hopes to continue with his winning streak against the Jordanian whom he has never played..

Also in an upbeat mood was Kedah-born Ong Sai Hung. The No 8 seeded player needed 39 minutes to defeat Mohamad Khani Shavazi from Iran 11-7, 11-2, 10-12, 11-3 in his opening tie, also in the Boys' Under-19 section.

Sai Hung will take on Hong Kong's 9th seed Lincoln Chan Wui Ki in the second round. Lincoln came back from the brink of defeat to snatch a narrow 9-11, 11-9, 4-11, 13-11, 11-9 over Malaysia's Darren Rahul Pragasam in 43 minutes.

In another Under-19 match, Muhammad Ezzri Nasri also joined in the bandwagon when he humbled Singapore's 14th seed Brandon Tan Jit Wei 11-6, 11-5, 10-12, 11-6. The win will see the Penangite pitted against No 2 seed Velavan Senthilkumar from India in the second round.

Velavan and topseed Ng Eain Yow from Malaysia received a bye today and will only see action tomorrow (Wednesday, Sept 21).

Eain Yow will open his account against another Indian Aryaman Adik at 11.0am.

In the Girls' Under-19, Selangor-born Teh Min En, the No 16th seed, thrashed Sri Lanka's Thantrige Hashini Wasundara Suwaris 11-6, 11-3, 11-4 in just 14 minutes.

Topseeded Sivasangari Subramaniam (Kedah), Andrea Lee Jia Qi (KL) , the No 2 seed, and Zoe Foo Yuk Han (No 4 seed from Negri Sembilan) will see action tomorrow (Wednesday at 11.0am).




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