Sport

Published: Tuesday December 24, 2013 MYT 6:31:00 PM
Updated: Tuesday December 24, 2013 MYT 6:33:58 PM

British Juniors: Last chance saloon for Darren to shine

This will be Darren Chan's last British Junior Open championships, as he will compete in the Under-19 category in Sheffield starting Jan 2. - Filepic

This will be Darren Chan's last British Junior Open championships, as he will compete in the Under-19 category in Sheffield starting Jan 2. - Filepic

PETALING JAYA: Darren Chan will be competing in probably his last British Junior Open squash championships which starts from Jan 2-6 at Sheffield, and he intends to make the most of it.

The 17-year-old Darren completed his Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) examinations earlier this month is nearing the end of his junior career.

However, the pint-sized Pahang boy who played a key role in leading Malaysia to the Asian Youth Games team gold alongside Mohd Syafiq Kamal and Ng Eain Yow, wants to end his junior days with a bang.

He has targeted a top 16 finish in the Under-19 category of the prestigious British Juniors, which will feature several top juniors such as Egyptian Karim El Hammamy and Shehab Essan, home favourite Richie Fallows and Peru’s Diego Elias.

“I just finished my SPM and this will probably be my last British Juniors,” said Darren, who only reached the second round in this year’s meet, in the Under-17 category.

“After this tournament, my next plan is to start college. In fact, I have already enrolled in Taylor’s University where I’ll do my South Australian Matriculation (SAM), before probably venturing into actuarial science.

“I don’t plan to give up though, even though everyone says it’s hard to study and play squash at the same time ... what more for me who wants to pursue actuarial science.

“But I’ve always been studying and training even in high school and I’ll give it a try first and see how it goes.

“For now, my focus is on the British Juniors and I intend to make the top 16.

“It will be tough because I have England’s Ashley Davies, this year’s runner-up in the Under-17 category, in my half of the draw but I’ll give my best.”

Darren, who is seeded joint 17th-32nd, will face a qualifier in the first round before meeting Davies in the second round.

Besides Darren, the other Malaysian in the Under-19 category is Syafiq, who will take on Argentina’s Rodrigo Obregon in the first round.

A total of 19 Malaysians will be competing in the British Juniors, with 13 of them having earned their spot courtesy of the CIMB Foundation’s “overseas” incentive programme. Darren, along with the likes of Yong Sue Ann, Aika Azman, Ong Sai Hung, Mohd Harris Ramlee and Amirah Rusyidah are self-funded.

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