Young shuttlers shine in Pontian

Dania Sofea on her way to winning the doubles title.

THE 11th edition of the Johor Close Badminton Championship saw 600 young shuttlers battling for a chance to represent the state at the national level in the future.

The four-day tournament at DBC Sport Arena in Pontian saw five categories – Under-21, Under-16, Under-14, Under-12 and Under-10.

The organiser, Johor Badminton Association (JBA), wanted to give young players from across the state a chance to show their talents.

The final day saw 19-year-old top seed Muhammad Ariffin Nazri Md Zakaria claiming bragging rights after edging Wee Yee Tern 21-19, 21-17 in the men’s Under-21 singles final.

The thrilling opening set stretched Ariffin Nazri to the limit but he remained calm to emerge triumphant.

He paid tribute to Yee Tern, who is his teammate in the Johor badminton team, for putting up a strong fight.

“It was a really tough game and I am proud to share this moment with my teammate,” he said.

Ariffin Nazri in action in the Under-21 singles final.Ariffin Nazri in action in the Under-21 singles final.

“I thank JBA for organising this tournament as it gives players like me an opportunity to play against top shuttlers in the state.”

Ariffin Nazri also teamed up with his brother Ashraf Daniel, 21, in the U-21 doubles final, where he once again met Yee Tern who partnered his brother Yee Hern.

The clash of siblings was won by Ariffin and Ashraf Daniel 21-15, 21-19.

Dania Sofea Zaidi, 16, walked away with two titles.

First, she picked up the U-16 girls singles title by defeating Lai Eyun 21-7, 21-10 in the early morning.

Later, she teamed up with Lai Eyun and the pair defeated Koh Yi Rou-Yap Yi Ning 21-9, 21-10 to clinch their maiden U-16 girls doubles title.

JBA president Mat Rashid Jahlil said the association was satisfied with the response to the tournament.

“JBA will ensure that the Johor Close Badminton Championship will continue for years to come.

“We also aim to expand next year’s edition by having international talents joining local players,” he added.

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