KUALA LUMPUR: A recent promotion into the senior team has given shuttler R. Satheishtharan the impetus to outdo himself.
He is now aiming to shine when Malaysia begin their team challenge in the Asian Junior Championships in Bangkok on Sunday.
The individual competition will be held from Wednesday.
The 18-year-old Satheishtharan said that he has grown more confident after training with the senior shuttlers under the charge of Tey Seu Bock.
“Training under coach Seu Bock has helped me a lot. The sparring sessions with the seniors have been invaluable. I’m more mature in my game,” said Satheistharan, winner of the boys’ singles gold medal at the Asean Schools Games (ASG) in Manila in December.
“This is my third and last outing in the Asian junior meet ... I believe I’m more prepared this time.”
Satheishtharan sees Indonesian top seed Firman Abdul Kholik as one his biggest stumbling blocks in the individual event.
The eighth-seeded Malaysian is in the same half as Firman and Panji Ahmad Maulana; South Korea’s Lee Jun-su and China’s world junior champion Lin Guipu and Sun Feixiang.
“There’s a chance for me to reach the quarter-finals, where I may meet Firman. I will be ready,” said Satheishtharan, who added that all his team members were in high spirits ahead of their two opening matches against Singapore and South Korea on Sunday.
The others boys in the team are Cheam June Wei, Tan Jia Wei, Lee Zii Jia, Tan Jinn Hwa-Goh Sze Wei, Soh Wooi Yik-Ooi Zi Heng, Sim Guo Zheng-Aaron Chia Teng Fong. The girl shuttlers are Goh Jin Wei, Ng Qi Xuan, M. Thinaah, Lee Ying Ying, Anna Cheong Ching Yik-Desiree Siow Hao Shan, Tew Jia Jia-Teoh Mei Xing, Eng Pui Yee-Ooi Shi Han.
Ninth-seeded Malaysia are in Group C with South Korea, Singapore and Macau.
The top two teams from each group will move into the quarter-finals.
If Malaysia emerge as group champions, they will face the runners-up of Group A. If they finish second, they are likely to face top seeds and defending champions China.
MIXED TEAM DRAW
Group A: China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Sri Lanka, Kazakhstan,
Group B: Japan, Thailand, Nepal, Vietnam, Mongolia.
Group C: South Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, Macau.Group D: Indonesia, India, Philippines, Turkmenistan.