PETALING JAYA: The doubles pairs were the biggest letdown as Malaysia crashed 3-1 to Japan in the quarter-finals of the Asian Junior badminton championships at the Likas Indoor Stadium in Kota Kinabalu.
Malaysia have traditionally produced strong doubles partnerships, especially at the junior level – with Chan Chong Ming-Jeremy Gan (1997), Chong Ming-Teo Kok Seng (1998), Koo Kien Keat-Ong Soon Hock (2002) and Mak Hee Chun-Teo Kok Siang (2008) all winning the Asian Junior titles.
But since Nelson Heg-Teo Ee Yi won the world junior title in 2011, there has been a lapse in quality and it showed yesterday.
In the mixed doubles, Chua Khek Wei-Yap Cheng Wen blew a 20-18 first-game lead to lose 20-22, 17-21 to Japan’s Hashiru Shimono-Wakana Nagahara although top junior ace Soong Joo Ven brought Malaysia back to level terms by beating Takuto Inoue 21-16, 21-15.
But Darren Isaac Devadass-Ong Yew Sin muffed their chances as they went down in three games to Yugo Kobayashi-Takuro Hoki in the boys’ doubles before the defending champs sealed their last four spot when Aya Ohori beat S. Kisona 21-10, 15-21, 21-15 in girls’ singles.
National junior doubles coach Pang Cheh Chang believes that his charges shot themselves in the foot by failing to execute their gameplan properly.
“It’s quite disappointing to lose to Japan, especially since they were beaten 5-0 by Thailand yesterday,” said Cheh Chang.
“Our plan was to go all out against Indonesia in the group stages so that we might have an easier time in the quarter-finals. We beat the Indonesians but today (yesterday) the players, especially the doubles pairs, were unable to execute the plan to perfection and made mistakes in their decision-making.
“Khek Wei-Cheng Wen had the advantage in the first game ... instead of going for the safe shots, they decided to be too fancy and ended up losing. Darren-Yew Sin were too defensive in the deciding rubber and that gave the advantage to the Japanese.
Meanwhile, in the semi-finals, China reaffirmed their ascend back to the top by crushing Japan 3-0. They will take on South Korea, who defeated Indonesia 3-1, for the title.