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Thursday November 1, 2012

Top junior Joo Ven crashes out in Chiba

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s hopes suffered a huge blow when top junior shuttler Soong Joo Ven was sent packing in the third round of the World Junior Championships in Chiba, Japan.

Joint third-fourth seed Joo Ven was expected to reach at least the semi-finals. Instead, he went down 15-21, 10-21 to unseeded Taiwanese Ting Hsu-jui in just 34 minutes.

Last year, KLRC’s Zulfadli Zulkifli became the first Malaysian to win the boys’ singles title when he defeated 2010 world junior champion Viktor Axelsen of Denmark in the final.

Axelsen kept alive his hopes of winning a second world junior title when he blew away Malaysia’s Tan Kian Meng 21-12, 21-15 in just 30 minutes yesterday.

Two other Malaysians – Soo Teck Zhi and Chong Yee Han – just made it to the fourth round.

Today, Yee Han will have a tough time against joint fifth-eighth seed Ng Ka Long of Hong Kong while Teck Zhi should have a better chance of making the quarter-finals when he faces Dani Harsheel of India.

Joo Ven was downcast after his defeat and apologised for his early exit.

“I really played badly today. I am so sorry for letting down Malaysia and those who support me. I will take this as a lesson ...,” said Joo Ven.

Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) coaching and training committee chairman Ng Chin Chai blamed unnecessary pressure for Joo Ven’s loss.

“We expected him to reach the semi-finals. I’ve received feedback from the coach that Joo Ven put too much pressure on himself,” said Chin Chai.

“He is young but so much hope was placed on him. I think he found it hard to deal with the high expectations. It will be a good experience for him.”

In the girls’ singles, Lim Yin Fun was the only Malaysian to make the fourth round, but her challenge is likely to end today when she comes up against top seed and reigning Japan Open champion Tai Tzu-ying of Taiwan.

Meanwhile, Tan Wee Gieen-Chow Mei Kuan showed their prowess in two events – making it to the third round of the mixed doubles and also their respective boys’ and girls’ doubles events.

Wee Gieen-Mei Kuan are the only Malaysian hope in the mixed doubles after they defeated Julien Maio-Stacey Guerin of France 21-18, 21-18 to set up a tricky fourth round clash against South Koreans Kim Jae-hwan-Lee So-hee.

The others through to the third round in the boys’ doubles are Wee Gieen-Tai An Khang, Darren Isaac Devadass-Ong Yew Sin and Dede Ryan Philip-Marcel Simon.

Mei Kuan received a first round bye with Lee Meng Yean and will be in action with Joyce Choong Wai Chi-Yap Cheng Wen to win tickets for the quarter-finals today.

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