Yasshmita (in white) beat teammate Nur Maisara 7-11, 11-7, 11-8, 8-11, 11-7 in an absorbing final.
TOP seeds Ameeshanraj Chandran and Yasshmita Jadishkumar, both from Negri Sembilan, bagged the Boys’ and Girls’ Under-13 titles respectively, amidst contrasting fashion in the first leg of the 12th CIMB Foundation Rising Stars National Junior Circuit at the Jalan Duta Squash Courts in Kuala Lumpur, recently.
While Ameenshanraj had it easy over No 2 seed Hi Jia Rong of Sarawak in the final, winning 11-4, 11-7, 11-4 in 27 minutes, the lanky Yasshmita had to toil over her pint-sized Negri Sembilan teammate Nur Maisara Mohd Azlan Shah, joint 3rd-4th seed, for 45 minutes before emerging champion in a titanic final with a 7-11, 11-7, 11-8, 8-11, 11-7 scoreline, much to the crowd’s delight.
It certainly was a relief for Ameeshanraj and Yasshmita – both Year 8 students at Matrix Global School in Seremban, Negri Sembilan – as they claimed their first title in the circuit.
“I guess I was a little too confident. When I lost the first game, I panicked. Maisara is a fighter and I knew she would give me a tough challenge until the end.
“My coach Hafefe Tarmizhi told me to remain calm and play my shots. I was lucky to pull through in the end,” said Yasshmita, who idolises national coach and former World No 7 Ong Beng Hee, who is also her mentor and part-time coach.
Credit should be given to Nur Maisara for her never-say-die attitude as shown throughout the five-day tourney. Trained under coach Zulfikar Khan from Pakistan at the Seremban 2 Sports Complex, Nur Maisara, 12, could be the player to watch if she continues to train hard.
Malacca-born Thanussa Uthrian, the joint No 3-4 seed, came from behind to finish third after knocking out Penang’s No 2 seed June Loke Qian Ting 6-11, 11-5, 11-8, 11-9.
For Ameenshanraj, this was what he had to say after his match. “It was a relatively easy match for me. I expected a better challenge from my opponent. Nevertheless, I will train hard for my upcoming tournaments under coach Zulfikar,” said Ameenshanraj, who is the younger of two siblings.
Shamiel Haeyzad Sharulhisam from Negri Sembilan edged Tay Jun Qian from Selangor 17-15, 11-9, 11-8 to finish third.
Boosted by their victory, both Ameeshanraj and Yasshmita are looking forward to winning many more titles in the years to come.
Their next major assignment is competing in the Penang Junior Open at the end of June.
A total of 384 players competed in the five-day tourney. The players received their prizes from CIMB Group Human Resource Corporate Responsibility assistant manager Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman, SRAM director Major (Rtd) S. Maniam, SRAM vice-president Nik Razeen Daud and SRAM Junior Development Programme chairman Andrew Muthu.