PENANG: Hosts Penang are confident that the first-leg of the Celcom Axiata National Under-21 badminton championships will be able to showcase the best young talents despite the absence of national No. 1 Goh Jin Wei.
The RM21,800 tournament, to be held at the Penang Badminton Association Hall from March 25-29, has received overwhelming response for the five categories – men’s singles (129) and doubles (64 pairs), women’s singles (53) and doubles (21 pairs) and mixed doubles (31 pairs).
The second leg of the championships will be held in Pahang from Oct 4-18.
The 17-year-old Jin Wei has only just returned to training after being out for two months since picking up an ankle injury during her second-round defeat at the Malaysian Masters in January.
The former world junior champion is down to compete in the Malaysian Open in Kuching from April 4-9 and the Singapore Open from April 11-16.
“I was told that they (Badminton Association of Malaysia) have opted to keep Jin Wei for the Malaysian Open,” said Penang BA president Kah Kau Kiak
“I’m confident that this first leg challenge will not be short of promising young talents since it is the best avenue for budding talents from all over Malaysia to impress the national selectors and gain entry into the elite squad.”
Joint top seeds Leong Jun Hao of BAM and Johor’s Chong Chun Quan are the favourites for the men’s singles title while Perak’s G. Mooghillen-M. Ganessan and Muhd Shahrul Nazim-Muhd Sharul Nizam should slog it out for the men’s doubles crown.
BAM’s S. Kisona and M. Tinaah are fancied for the women’s singles title while Selangor’s Lee Zhi Qing-Payee Lim Peiy Yee and BAM’s Tan Sueh Jeou-Toh Ee Wei are the top two seeds in women’s doubles.