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Friday August 16, 2013 MYT 5:43:00 PM
Friday August 16, 2013 MYT 5:46:14 PM
by kng zheng guan
National Juniors Mohd Syafiq Kamal (right), Ng Eain Yow and Rachel Arnold during a training session two months ago. Looking on is coach Andrew Cross. All three will be trying to win a gold medal at the AYG which starts Saturday.
PETALING JAYA: After receiving a beating at the Asian Junior Championships in Amman, Jordan, in June, talented junior squash player Mohd Syafiq Kamal is determined to return with gold from the Asian Youth Games (AYG) which starts Saturday in Nanjing, China.
The 16-year-old Syafiq was the top seed for the Under-17 category of the Asian Juniors but was outclassed by teammate Ng Eain Yow in the final, losing in four sets.
However Syafiq who defeated Eain Yow to win the Penang Junior Open in June is still one the country’s top prospects and can be counted on to deliver at the AYG.
The Kelantan lad is feeling fresh having taken a week off for the Hari Raya celebrations and is prepared to go the mile to bring home the gold this time.
“I don’t like losing, especially since I lost to Eain Yow in the Milo All Star (in May) as well. But I just couldn’t move during the final at the Asian Juniors,” said Syafiq.
“He really played well then and deserved to win but that has made me even more motivated to win at the AYG.
“I’m also feeling fresher as the one week with my family in Kelantan was a good opportunity to relax.
“The AYG will be tougher than the Asian Juniors because the older players are competing alongside us but I’ve prepared well,” added the Bukit Jalil Sports School (BJSS) student.
Syafiq is seeded second in the AYG and receives a first-round bye. He should face Jordan’s Mohammad Alsarraj in the second round and a win should pit him against India’s Vijay Kumar in the quarter-finals.
The lefty is expected to face joint third-fourth seed Yuen Tsun Hei of Hong Kong in the semi-finals.
Eain Yow, who is also seeded joint third-fourth has the likes of Pakistan’s Ahmad Israr and top seed Kush Kumar of India in his draw.
National junior coach Andrew Cross believes that both Syafiq and Eain Yow have what it takes to win, as long as they put their mind to it.
“They are both excellent young players and they can both win the gold medal despite the challenging opponents ... as long as they focus on who they’re playing,” said Cross.
“The only difference between them is that Syafiq is more adventurous and sometimes lacks focus while Eain Yow generally makes it hard for opponents to beat him. Discipline is his biggest weapon.”
Besides Syafiq and Eain Yow, Malaysia will also have top girls Rachel Arnold and Vanessa Raj in the individual event, although both are drawn to meet in the quarter-finals.
Tags / Keywords:
Squash, National Juniors, Asian Youth Games, AYG, Mohd Syafiq Kamal, Ng Eain Yow, Andrew Cross
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