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Monday November 19, 2012

Syafiq overcomes Darren to win National Junior U-17 title

Fierce challenger: Darren Chan (right) in action against Mohd Syafiq Kamal in the National Junior
Championships final at the NSC Squash Complex yesterday. — BRIAN MOH / The Star Fierce challenger: Darren Chan (right) in action against Mohd Syafiq Kamal in the National Junior Championships final at the NSC Squash Complex yesterday. — BRIAN MOH / The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: Promising junior squash player Mohd Syafiq Kamal is ready to forgo the school holidays to prepare for the prestigious British Junior Open in January.

The lanky 16-year-old has had a mixed year, suffering a disappointing outing in the Asian Juniors in May but coming back strongly to win the Under-17 title in the Hong Kong Junior Open in September.

The Hong Kong success earned him a ticket to the British Junior Open in Sheffield under the Squash Racquets Association Malaysia (SRAM) and CIMB junior development programme.

Yesterday, the soft spoken Kelantan lad picked up another title when he overcame a fierce challenge from Pahang’s Darren Chan to win the Under-17 title in the National Junior Championships at the NSC Squash Complex in Jalan Duta.

The left-hander just packed too much power and won 11-8, 11-8, 4-11, 11-9.

“It was close and I’m happy to have pulled it off,” said Syafiq, who is with the Bukit Jalil Sports School.

“Darren is probably one of the best players in the Under-17 category and beating him is an achievement.

“This tournament was a good build-up for the British Junior meet and the win is good for my confidence.

“Although it’s the school holidays, I can’t afford to slacken now as I have to prepare for Sheffield.

“The plan is to work towards getting a better result on my third trip to the British Open,” added Syafiq, who only made the second round this year.

Meanwhile, Mohd Addeen Idrakie bagged the Under-19 title by beating Mohd Amir Farhan 11-6, 11-7, 11-13, 14-12.

Asian Junior champion Ng Eain Yow took the Under-15 honours despite dropping a set against Selangor’s Alwin Chai, winning 11-8, 8-11, 11-6, 11-6.

In the girls’ competition, top junior Vanessa Raj captured the Under-17 title after surviving a tough five-setter against Rachel Arnold.

Rising star S. Sivasangari claimed the Under-15 crown by coming back from two sets down to beat Andrea Lee 12-14, 7-11, 11-7, 11-6, 11-3.

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