THE absence of several top shuttlers in the boys and girls Under-12 category enabled unheralded players to win their respective singles titles in the Kedah-Yonex 2015 age-group badminton tournament at the Kedah BA hall in Jalan Suka Menanti.
The girls Under-12 title was won by Kuala Muda BA’s player Wai Shu Mei, who beat her teammate Sim Qin Hua by 21-13, 21-12 in the final while second seed Poopathi Velayutham defeated unknown Lim Kai Xuan in straight games of 21-14, 21-9 to win the boys Under-12 singles title.
This unprecedented situation arose because the top four players in the boys and girls Under-12 category were called up at the last minute to attend selection trials at the Bukit Jalil Sports School.
Those who were called up were 2015 MSSM Under-12 girls doubles champions Cheng Su Hin (top seed in the Kedah-Yonex), her twin sister Cheng Su Yin (second seed), Panimaller Balan and Yeshveeni Kalaiselvam seeded third and fourth respectively.
In the boys Under-12 category, the players called up for trials were top seed Mohd Faris Amrin, Sunhushen Sivaraj, Kok Jia Cheng and Tan Yong Run.
The vacuum created by the top Under-12 players enabled second seed Poopathi, who had lost in last year’s Under-10 final to Ng In Qin (then just eight), to win his first career title.
In Qin retained the Under-10 title for another year by blowing away unseeded Khoh Jian Cheng, who had earlier beaten second seed Leong Ing Le in the semi-finals by 21-1, 21-7 in just twenty minutes.
In the girls Under-14 event, Nur Shahira Puzi emerged as the new champion, defeating second seed Ng Jia Shuen in three hard fought games of 15-21, 21-15, 21-18. Shen then went on to make it a grand double by winning the Under-14 doubles title, too, with H’ng Wen Gee.
Meanwhile, current junior champion Abdul Jalil Mohd Sidik won his first Kedah age-group title by winning the boys Under-16 singles and doubles events.
In the singles final, the top-seeded Abdul Jalil beat second seed Menooshen Sivarao in straight games of 21-12, 21-16 and returned to the court an hour later to win the doubles title with Ho Wei Chong. The duo downed second seeds Gan Yee Thang and Ng Yong Chai also in straight games of 21-12, 21-11.
For the second straight year, there were no girls Under-16 singles and doubles and the girls Under-12 doubles events due to a lack of entries.
Eng Chun Yu also won two titles in the tournament when he bagged the boys Under-14 singles and doubles titles. In the singles final, he defeated his doubles partner Fareez Fadly 21-17, 21-16 before joining forces with Fareez to win the doubles title. They demolished the Gan Yee Thang-Ng Yong Chai combination by 21-16, 21-16.
The champions in each category received a trophy, a Yonex bag, T-shirt and racket while the runners-up received a trophy, a Yonex bag and a T-shirt.
Kedah BA vice-presidents S. Murugaiah and Yeoh Soo Aik took turns to give away the prizes to the winners.
Meanwhile, eight Kedah players have been selected by the KBA to compete in the Pumpui badminton tournament in Trang, Thailand from May 4 to May 10.
“The players were selected based on their potential. They need international exposure at an early age if they are to realise their potential,” said KBA chief coach Linda Wati.
The players selected are: (Boys) Mohd Faiz Amrin, Ng In Qin, Poopathi Velayutham and Wong Swee Jee; (Girls) Twins Cheng Su Yin, Cheng Su Hui, Panimaller Balan and Yeshveeni Kalaiselvam.