Satheishtharan prevents total wipeout in world junior meet

KUALA LUMPUR: R. Satheishtharan is the only Malaysian shuttler left standing in the boys’ competitions at the World Junior Championships in Lima, Peru.

Keeping him company in the quarter-final stage of the competition are girls’ singles aces Lee Ying Ying and Goh Jin Wei.

On a day when all the other boys’ singles and doubles shuttlers faltered, it was left to Satheishtharan to save the day as he beat Kenya Mitsuhashi of Japan 21-7, 21-14 to reach his first quarter-finals in the world juniors.

The 18-year-old Satheishtharan, whose appearance will be the last in the junior ranks, will take on India’s Siril Verma for a place in the semi-finals.

Ying Ying was just as solid as she upset ninth seed Clara Azurmendi of Spain 21-16, 21-11 to set up a meeting with Denmark’s Julie Dawall Jakobsen.

Belgium International champion Jin Wei received a walkover from rising Dane Misa Blichfeldt in their last-16 match and will take on China’s Chen Yufei in the quarter-finals.

The day, however, belonged to 10th seed Satheishtharan, who feels that his win over the Japanese more than makes up for his absence from his family for the Deepavali celebrations.

“I was not there with my family during this year’s Deepavali, but it’s all right. I’m sure my performance here has made them happy,” he said.

“But I’m not done yet. I hope to reach at least the semi-finals. I beat Siril at the German Junior this year, but I won’t take him lightly.”

Much was expected of boys’ singles players Cheam June Wei and Yeoh Seng Zoe.

Instead, Youth Olympic Games champion June Wei lost 21-15, 17-21, 12-21 to Japan’s Koki Watanabe in the third round, while Seng Zoe was sent packing 14-21, 17-21 by top seed Firman Kholik of Indonesia in the fourth round.

Malaysia experienced a wipeout in the boys’ doubles when Goh Sze Fei-Tan Jinn Hwa and Aaron Chia Teng Fong-Soh Wooi Yik crashed out in the fourth round.

Malaysia have produced seven boys’ doubles world junior champions in the past.

Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) development manager Kwan Yoke Meng said: “Most of our top boys’ shuttlers lost today. We did not expect both our pairs to lose at this stage. Their opponents performed better ... we must accept that.”