Top seed and defending champion Jeeva sent reeling in thrilling final

AMIRUL Hakimi Yusrizal caused the biggest upset in the Kedah-Yonex Under-16 badminton singles final when he defeated Ke-dah junior champion V. Jeeva at the Kedah Badminton Hall.

Amirul, 14, defeated Jeeva in a pulsating three-game final which lasted 56 minutes.

The SMK Mergong student downed top seed and defending champion Jeeva 22-20, 15-21, 21-12.

This is Amirul’s second success against Jeeva in their head-to-head clashes in a final within the past six months.

Last November, Amirul Hakimi turned the tables on Jeeva in the Under-15 final, also in three games.

In that final, Amirul lost the first game 15-21 before bouncing back to win the next two 21-18, 21-4.

In the Under-16 final held last Saturday night, the fitter Amirul again prevailed with his better staying power and focus while Jeeva became erratic as the match wore on.

Amirul, who took up the game just three years ago, has only two Under-13 doubles titles in 2008 and 2009 to show.

Jeeva’s career record includes winning the Under-12 title twice in 2006 and 2007, the Under-14 and Under-15 titles in 2009 and the Under-16 title last year.

Jeeva’s consolation was retaining the Under-16 doubles with Tan Wei Jun as his partner.

Earlier in the semi-finals, Amirul beat third seed Tan Wei Jun 9-21, 21-17, 21-16 while Jeeva had to dig deep into his reserves to overcome fourth seed Bolriffin Khairul 12-21, 21-11, 21-18.

In the boys Under-12 singles Rooben Raj overcame Abdul Jalil Sidek in the final again for the second year running winning in straight games of 21-12, 21-10.

In last year’s final Jalil had stretched Rooben to three closely fought games before losing 13-21, 21-19, 15-21.

In the girls category, Pearly Tan Khong Le, who had won the Under-10 title for three years running from 2008, continued her form by sealing the Under-12 title by beating unseeded Eng Sin Jou in the final.

Lee Zii Yii, seeded number two in the girls Under-16 event, downed top seed and defending cham- pion Siti Hazwani Din in straight games of 21-9, 21-16 to win the title.

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