MALACCA: Malacca’s age-group basketball, cricket and badminton teams and players chalked up success and turned in impressive performances away from home while at the same time underscoring that respective structured state level development, coaching and training schemes have taken root and reaping dividends.
For starters, Malacca Basketball Association president Gary Tan Kang Yong was one very happy and proud man. The state girls outfit for the very first time since the competition’s inception 21 years ago captured the Lum Mun Chak Challenge Cup at the National Under-16 Basketball Championships in Kuantan.
According to team manager Lim Loke Shien, it was the girls’ play consistency from start to finish, where 14 teams were in the competitive fray, that earned them the honours. A bronze medal win was the best the local outfit could muster in 2009 but this time out the state got the better of fancied Kuala Lumpur with a 59-41 triumph to capture the gold, he added.
On top of the golden finish, Teo Chu Yun was voted the Best Player Assist and Most Valuable Player. Teo along with Tan Yun Wei, Tan Chia Qian and Siah Min Rhu were also picked to join the national Under-16 training squad.
In their run-up to the crown, Malacca in the preliminary round group matches defeated Penang 80-48, Perlis 115-19 and Terengganu 76-36. In the second round play-offs, Malacca scored wins over Sarawak (66-38), Perak (55-29) and Sabah (70-37) before earning the right to take on favourites Kuala Lumpur in the gold medal tussle.
At cricket, the Malacca team only in the thick of action of the National Age Group series for a the third year running, hoisted a creditable showing by bagging the Under-12 Losers Pool champions tag. In the one round league involving three teams, Malacca defeated Perlis by 22 runs and edged Sarawak by nine runs to capture honours. In earlier preliminary group outings, Malacca drew with Negri Sembilan, beat Perlis by 7 wickets but lost to Kelantan by 32 runs.
Team manager Mohd Fauzi Taha disclosed that the local side comprising players from SRK Banda Hilir, Lereh, Tanjong Minyak and Kampong Gelam held their own in both the bowling and batting departments but only lost out in lack of competitive match exposure experience. Three players - Mohd Faraz, Ammar Aiman Abdul Bahar and Muhammad Nur Alif - bagged Man of the Match awards in preliminary round matches, noted a proud Fauzi.
On the badminton courts at the National Junior Circuit Grand Prix Finals held at the Bukit Kiara Stadium Juara in Kuala Lumpur, it was a tale of mixed fortunes for the local shuttlers. However, Malacca Badminton Association (MBA), the Elite Coaching Scheme chief coach Choy Ah Sang is confident that several prospects should gain the nod for inclusion into the Bukit Jalil Sports School and the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) training stints come early 2013.
After bagging seven golds and two silver medals in the second leg of the national junior circuit held in Kuala Terengganu, this time out in the finals it was a case of mixed fortunes. The best show of the lot from the homesters was registered in the Girls Under-12 doubles.
After winning golds in the first and second legs, Malacca’s Yap Su Ling and Toh Ee Wei as firm favourite, surprisingly went down 21-17;12-21;15-21 to Penang’s Goh Jin Wei and Jslyn Hooi Yue Yam in the final.
Choy also disclosed that both Yap and Toh also reached the Girls Under-12 singles quarterfinals. It was a similar story for James Hong Jun and Tai Chuen Zhe (Under-12 Boys singles), Anna Cheong Ching Yik (Under-14 Girls singles) and Bong Guang Yik (Under-16 Boys singles), he added.
Other notable Malacca performers who reached the last four included Boon Wei Ying (Under-18 Girls singles), Aaron Chia Teng Fong (Under-16 Boys singles) and Anna Cheong Ching Yik (Under-14 Girls singles). Two other local players wearing Bukit Jalail Sports School colours that bagged titles were Yap Cheng Wen and Tai An Khang. Yap teamed up with Perak’s Chin Kah Mun to capture the Girls Under-18 doubles while Tai partnered Kuala Lumpur’s Darren Issac to corner the Boys Under-18 doubles gold.
For the records, the MBA Elite Coaching Scheme has over the last six years witnessed several promising talents and potentials gaining entry to the Bukit Jalail Sports School and BAM year round training stints. Choy noted that at the moment, national prospects who have come through the local scheme include mixed doubles player Goh Liu Ying who is London Olympic bound and twice world junior doubles champion Ow Yau Han who has been drafted into the BAM training project and also earmarked for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio De Janeiro. Another potential hogging the national limelight is 2011 national Grand Prix singles runner up Goh Soon Huat who is currently attached with BAM.