PETALING JAYA: Malaysia’s Syafiq Kamal got off to a winning start in the World Junior Championships in Windhoek, Namibia.
The 18-year-old Syafiq proved too strong for Israel’s Nir Cohen, winning 11-8, 11-8, 11-6 in the first round yesterday.
“It was a good start for Syafiq and a good workout for him before the matches get tougher,” said national junior coach Andrew Cross.
This is the first time that Malaysia are competing in the Under-19 championships since 2009. Then, Ivan Yuen finished as runner-up to Egypt’s Mohamed El Shorbagy. To date, only Ong Beng Hee has won the title, emerging as champion in 1998 in the United States.
Besides Syafiq, the other Malaysians taking part are Darren Chan, Ong Sai Hung and Ng Eain Yow. Besides playing in the individual event, the four will also be involved in the team event.
Of the four, two-time British Junior Open champion Ng Eain Yow is Malaysia’s best bet to reach the individual quarter-finals. The Squash Racquets of Malaysia (SRAM) are relying on him to win the title in the future.
The 16-year-old Eain Yow will take on Israel’s Noam Peter in the first round. A win will see him play either Namibian Carel Olivier or Colombia’s Santiago Orozco. Eain Yow’s biggest test with come in the third round with joint 13th-16th seed Auguste Dussourd of France.
Eain Yow is banking on springing a few surprises and gaining as much experience as possible.
“I am unseeded and I am not familiar with most of the players. But I am not too worried with the seedings because it doesn’t really mean a thing. I just need to play at my highest level.
“Auguste has played in a number of tournaments in Europe and can be a tricky opponent,” said Eain Yow.