THE performance of Kedah players in the inaugural CIMB Rising Stars National Junior Circuit squash championship has given Kedah Squash Association president Andrew Lim Eng Hwa the drive to do more for the game.
He was elated that several young players from Kedah had featured in the finals of the six titles at stake. Two of the three finals were an all-Kedah affair.
“I am proud of their achievements as our efforts to develop young players over the past few years have paid off,” he added.
“Their recent successes are due to the hard work put in by the association’s coaches and officials.
“The success speaks volumes for our development programme in unearthing new talents.
“We will continue to focus on guiding these particular players,” he said.
Lim said quality training was key to churning out and nurturing young players.
“As such, we need to assign coaches to concentrate just on them.
“We are actually short-handed with only Chong Pak Kau and Pakistani Jrar Aslam to handle the 49 trainees aged between eight and 15.
“There are more children now wanting to join the training sessions and we need to engage another sparring coach,” he said.
Lim said they needed financial support from the private sectors to carry out their plans.
“We will be grateful if some companies can come forward to help us achieve our goal of producing a champion in the mould of Datuk Nicol David,” he said.
Three Kedahans emerged champions in their respective events in the first leg National Junior Rising Stars circuit from Jan 31 to Feb 3 at the Bukit Jalil courts.
They were Aifa Azman (Girls Under-13), Sheveetraa Kumar (Girls Under-9) and Mohd Hafiz Zhafri (Boys Under-13).
Aifa, the Hong Kong Open Under-13 champion, defeated her teammate Chan Yi Wen 11-3, 11-3, 11-3 in the final.
Sheveetraa beat Aira Azman in five sets of 9-11, 8-11, 14-12, 12-10 and 11-2 in another all-Kedah final.
Mohd Hafiz beat Malacca’s Siow Yee Yian in the Boys Under-13 final by 10-12, 14-12, 11-3,11-8.
In the other three finals, Jessica Keng (Sabah) beat Krishnawani (Negri Sembilan)11-3, 11-5, 11-5 in the Girls Under-11 final.
The Boys Under-11 champion was Sachin Kumar (Selangor), who beat Justin Ho (Sel) 11-8, 11-5, 11-3.
Chris Lau (Sarawak) triumped over Kaydenn Pragasam (Negri Sembilan) 11-6, 11-4, 11-6 in the Boys Under-9 final.
The second leg of the circuit will be held in Malacca from March 14 to March 17.
The grand final is scheduled to be held from May 9 to May 12 at Bukit Jalil.