Squash: Syafiq and Darren bow out in World Juniors last 16

Mohd Syafiq Kamal (right) and Darren Chan both made the last 16 of the World Junior Championships. - filepic

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia’s challenge at the World Junior Squash Championship fizzled out after Mohd Syafiq Kamal and Darren Chan lost their matches to higher ranked opponents at Windhoek, Namibia.

On Monday, the 18-year-old Syafiq, who was making his debut, played a solid match to overcome Argentina’s Juan Segundo Barreyro 11-3, 11-4, 11-5 in the third round.

On Tuesday however, in the last 16, the left-handed Syafiq met his match as top seed Diego Elias of Peru was simply too strong as he went down 4-11, 4-11, 8-11.

The talented Elias will go on to face Egypt’s Mohamed El Gawarhy in the quarter-finals.
Darren, also 18, had done well to secure an upset win over joint 13th-16th seed Michael Craig of Ireland on Monday, coming back from two sets down to win 6-11, 7-11, 11-4, 11-5, 11-9.

And he was a spent force against joint third-fourth seed Kush Kumar of India, falling to a 3-11, 4-11, 7-11 defeat.

Sixteen-year-old Ng Eain Yow was earlier shown the exit by joint 13th-16th seed Auguste Dussourd of France, but not before giving a massive fight in the 12-10, 11-9, 9-11, 9-11, 7-11 defeat.

“This is the biggest tournament in the world and the competition was tough right from the start,” said national junior coach Andrew Cross.

“The boys however have shown progress because only Syafiq was expected to make it to the top 16 and we had two ... nearly a third.

“Eain Yow could have won but things did not go his way and it was always very tough against a seeded player.

“I’m not disappointed with the boys because they already exceeded expectations here. Now it’s time to regroup before the team event starts,” added Cross.

Malaysia’s best result in the team event was third in 2006. The last time they participated in the team event (2008), they ended up in sixth place.

Meanwhile, the biggest shock in the tournament was the exit of second seed and defending champion Karim El Hammamy of Egypt, who was beaten by compatriot Youssef Aboul-Makarim 12-10, 11-5, 9-11, 5-11, 7-11 in the third round.

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