HOSTS Kuala Lumpur stamped their mark at the inaugural Malaysia Junior Handball League that concluded at the National Sports Institute (NSI) indoor hall in Bukit Jalil on Sunday.
The Bukit Jalil line-up, comprising students from SMK Bukit Jalil, registered their unbeaten run to capture both boys' and girls' titles at the Under-19 competitions organised by the Kuala Lumpur Handball Association.
In both sections, they fended off the challenge from SMK Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah (SAAS), Kajang.
The league held fortnightly from February drew four teams each in both categories.
Besides Bukit Jalil and SAAS, the two other Klang Valley based clubs in the fray were Cempaka from Selangor and SJ from Putrajaya.
After competing in a round-robin competition earlier, the four teams featured in three matches each on the final day of the meet.
In the decider, Bukit Jalil edged SAAS 8-6 in the boys' category while the Bukit Jalil girls also chalked up a narrow 6-5 victory over SAAS.
Organising chairman Ng Num Thiam said Bukit Jalil showed their consistency because of their regular training.
“The boys' team won all their six matches while the girls only drew one match against SJ Putrajaya as they completed their fixtures,” he added.
The recent tournament was also a prelude to the Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) Handball Carnival scheduled at the OCM Indoor Sports Arena from May 29 to 31.
“It was also an opportunity for state teams to select their players for the upcoming carnival because handball is not included in the Malaysia Games (Sukma).
“The Malaysia Handball Federa-tion (MAHF) is also using the junior tournaments as part of our development programme to scout for young players to strengthen the national women's and men's side for SEA Games in Laos next year. From the junior league, we have also identified 30 players below the age of 23-years-old. We want to mount a better challenge against fancier sides such as Vietnam and Thailand with better preparation for the biennial Games,” added Ng, who is also MAHF secretary.
For the upcoming carnival, eight teams each are expected to compete in the boys' and girls' Under-23 competitions.
“We will give our state affiliates the priority to take part in the carnival. If they cannot field a team, we will consider including club sides because they are keen to take part,'' said Ng, adding that players from Bukit Jalil and Putrajaya will be spearheading Kuala Lumpur's challenge at the carnival.