PENANG consolidated its position as the top junior badminton powerhouse in the country by emerging as the overall champ in the 100Plus National Junior Badmin-ton Circuit 2014 Zone A first leg at the Kelantan JKR Hall in Kota Baru.
The Penang juniors swept six of the 16 titles at stake, the same number won by Kedah. But Penang edged out Kedah for the overall crown by virtue of producing 11 runners-up in the tournament.
Penang was represented in an unprecedented 15 out of the 16 finals contested on Saturday. Only the boys’ Under-18 singles final did not have a Penang player in action.
It is a new record for the national junior circuit series, with Selangor having the previous best achievement of seeing action in 13 of the 16 finals two years ago.
“It came as a big surprise because we did not expect to enter 15 of the 16 finals and to set a new record,” said Penang badminton director of coaching and development Tony Tan.
“Although we only won six of the 15 finals contested, I am not disappointed because the forecast for the Penang shuttlers was only to return from Kelantan with five titles.”
Liew Jun Rong and Teoh Le Xuan were the toast of the Penang team, after bagging a double each in the first leg.
Jun Rong beat Perak’s Cheah Cheng Xiang 21-18, 21-1 to bag the boys’ Under-14 singles title before partnering Kelvin Lim to oust teammates Choong Hon Jian-Tan Yi Han 21-14, 21-9 in the doubles final.
Le Xuan, who displayed tremendous promise as an 11-year-old during last year’s circuit, delivered in the girls’ Under-12 singles and doubles categories.
She shot down the highly-rated Chloe Jennifer Whittington of Kuala Lumpur 21-14, 18-21, 21-13 in the singles final before returning to the court with Lim Sze Jin to oust Chloe and Odelia Wong 21-10, 16-21, 21-14 in the doubles final.
Penang’s other two titles were won by Ng Eng Cheong in the
boys’ Under-16 singles and Lim
Chen Yen-Lim Ru Guat in the girls’ Under-16 doubles.
Eng Cheong missed a glorious chance to complete a personal double after falling at the final hurdle in the doubles competition. His all-out effort in the marathon 19-21, 23-21, 29-27 singles final win over fellow Penangite A. Cheerandeev took its toll as Eng Cheong was a spent force in the doubles final against Kuala Lumpur’s Hoo Pang Ron-Tam Tong Pei, as he and partner Ch’ng Choo Han lost 21-12, 21-15.
“With the other states all getting stronger, the task for Penang to hold to our status as the leading junior badminton powerhouse in Malaysia for the past several years is becoming tougher.
“The secret to our continued success is the combined effort from everyone involved, from the players and officials to the PBA (Penang Badminton Association) and our sponsors Gosen. Our uncompromising stand on discipline has also been vital to our continued success in the junior scene,” said Tan, who is also the team manager.
The only major disappointment for Penang was not having a winner in the Under-18 categories.
“The lack of a single champion in the Under-18 categories is a cause of concern for Penang. Although our top junior players have been absorbed to the Bukit Jalil Sports School and national back-up squad, our second stringers need to buck up and rise to the occasion.
“I hope we are able to better the current record of producing six champions from 15 finals, in the second leg next month,” added
Besides Penang and Kedah, which took home six titles each, Kuala Lumpur won in three finals and Perlis provided the biggest shock when Tan Vi Hen emerged as the boys’ Under-18 champion.
The circuit’s Zone A second leg will be held in Penang from April 23 to April 27.
Under-12: Singles: Kok Jing Hong (Ked) bt Lim Ming Hong (Pen) 21-13, 21-16; Doubles: Kok Jing Hong-Mohd Erfan Rahman (Ked) bt Alvin Cheah-Teh Jin Hong (Pen) 22-24, 21-11, 21-19.
Under-14: Singles: Liew Jun Rong (Pen) bt Cheah Cheng Xiang (Prk) 21-18, 21-1; Doubles: Kelvin Lim-Liew Jun Rong (Pen) bt Choong Hon Jian-Tan Yi Han (Pen) 21-14, 21-9.
Under-16: Singles: Ng Eng Cheong (Pen) bt Cheerandeev Arutchewan (Pen) 19-21, 23-21, 29-27; Doubles: Hoo Pang Ron-Tam Tong Pei (Kul) bt Ch’ng Choo Han-Ng Eng Cheong (Pen) 21-12, 21-15.
Under-18: Singles: Tan Vi Hen (Per) bt Tee Yong Jie (Pen) 22-20, 21-13; Doubles: Leong Wen Hao-Loi Choon Yip (Kul) bt Kevin Tan-Teoh Gen Sheng (Prk) 21-9, 24-22.
Under-12: Singles: Teoh Le Xuan (Pen) bt Chloe Jennifer Whittington (Kul) 21-14, 18-21, 21-13; Doubles: Lim Sze Jin-Teoh Le Xuan (Pen) bt Chloe Jennifer Whittington-Odelia Wong (Kul) 21-10, 16-21, 21-14.
Under-14: Singles: Eng Sin Jou (Ked) bt Lim Mei Chen (Pen) 21-9, 21-10; Doubles: Eng Sin Jou-Ong You Thien (Ked) bt Lim Jing Ning-Lim Mei Chen (Pen) 21-19, 21-9.
Under-16: Singles: Loh Bao Ying (Kul) bt Kong Yi Jin (Pen) 21-19, 17-21, 25-23; Doubles: Lim Chen Yen-Lim Ru Guat (Pen) bt Loh Bao Ying-Nur Johanna Adryana (Kul) 18-11 (rtd).
Under-18: Singles: Natalie Wong (Ked) bt Chua Cheah Lin (Pen) 19-21, 21-18, 21-12; Doubles: Jolynn Lim-Natalie Wong (Ked) bt Chua Cheah Lin-Lim Jee Lynn (Pen) 21-13, 22-20.