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Wednesday June 5, 2013

Vanessa highly motivated to win Penang Junior Open

GEORGE TOWN: Vanessa Raj has a triple mission in the ongoing Penang (Malaysian) Junior Squash Open Championships.

At the top of the 17-year-old’s agenda is to complete her personal “grand slam” of titles in the Penang Junior meet.

Vanessa, who is competing in the Under-19 category, has already won in the Under-11, Under-13, Under-15 and Under-17 age-groups in front of her home crowd.

And now, she is eyeing the final piece of silverware to complete her collection of Penang Junior titles. The Penangite is also extra motivated to go all the way at the Nicol David International Squash Centre as all Malaysian players who win on Sunday will be selected for the prestigious British Junior Open 2014.

“The only time I have featured in the British Juniors was three years ago, when I made it to the last 16 of the Under-15 category,” said Vanessa yesterday.

“It’s a special tournament that every junior player wants to play in. I want to qualify by winning in Penang this week.”

Vanessa also has a personal score to settle after falling to Bukit Jalil Sports School (BJSS) player Rachel Arnold in the Milo All Star Junior Open Under-19 final in Petaling Jaya last Sunday.

“I’ve won and lost to her before this, but last Sunday’s defeat was particularly painful as I did not play my best game,” said Vanessa.

“I was rushing my shots and made many mistakes. But I intend to pick up several good pointers from the defeat to win the title in Penang.”

Vanessa has been seeded second in Penang and drawn in the opposite half from top seed Ho Ka Po of Hong Kong and Rachel, the third seed.

All the seeded players in the 10 categories contested received a bye in yesterday’s first round of play. This year’s Penang Junior, which also doubles up as the national junior meet, has attracted 510 players.

Besides qualifying for the British Junior Open, players who do well in Penang are also able to collect qualification points for the world and Asian junior meets.

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