NATALIE Wong Yee Tong (Kuala Muda BA) defeated third-seeded Ong You Thien in straight games of 21-12, 21-13 to bag her fourth straight Kedah-Yonex junior badminton singles title at the Kedah BA hall in Jalan Suka Menanti, Alor Setar.
This is her fourth junior singles title,
having won it in 2010 for the first time
but skipped the tournament the following year.
She won again in 2012 and 2013, beating Nor Hazwani Hazair in straight games on both occasions.
In this recent tournament, she reached the final without dropping a game in four rounds before wrapping up the title.
Her victory equals another Kuala Muda player Chuah Sin Lin’s achievement of winning this title four times between 2005 and 2008. She also won a senior title in 2006.
Natalie, 17, however, was unsuccessful in her bid to win a double crown as she and partner Teh Seai Yen were beaten by top seeds Jolynn Lim Chea Ru and Tan Yao En in the doubles final in three games of 19-21, 21-19, 21-3.
In the men’s singles, ninth-seed Lai Kuan Zer, a Kedah BA trainee, caused a major upset by ousting top seed Rickson Tan in three gruelling games in the final for his maiden career title. He lost the first game at 17-21 but got his game flowing in the second and third games to run out a 21-16, 21-18 victor.
Rickson waltzed through five rounds with straight game victories before he met his match in Kuan Zer in the finals.
The bespectacled Kuan Zer cleared the early rounds in straight games but had to survive three-game matches in the quarter-finals and semi-finals to set up the final showdown against Rickson.
In the final, it was a touch-and-go affair throughout the match with each taking turns to score points but a fighting display put up by Kuan Zer including a tumble during the third game finally resulted in him edging his opponent for the title.
Rickson atoned for his failure in the singles final by annexing the doubles title with partner Tan Hong Chern.
Rickson and Hong Chern, bagged the title in straight games of 23-21 and 21-10, against the unseeded pair of Ooi Muk Xin and Tan Yu Kuang.
Rickson and Hong Chern had an easy passage to the final, winning all their five matches in straight games.
Dark horses Muk Xin and Yu Kuang scored an upset win against second seeds Ng Zheng and Shukhary Kamaruzaman in the quarter-finals by 21-11, 21-16 and easily qualified for the final by beating ninth seeded Rahizal Rahim and Wahyudi Wahab in the semi-finals by 21-14 and 23-21.
The response for this year’s tournament was tremendous as there were 128 entries each for the men’s singles and doubles and
32 singles and 11 pairs for the women’s events.
The respective champions received a Yonex racket and a trophy while the runners-up picked up a Yonex bag and trophy. Vice-president Yeoh Soo Aik gave away the prizes to the winners.