PETALING JAYA: National junior head coach Kwan Yoke Meng feels Malaysia could have enjoyed a better outing at the World Junior Championships had the top players performed to their true abilities.
Yoke Meng was disappointed with the “average” performance from the likes of Yap Roy King, Ooi Jhy Dar and Gan Jing Err, who were playing in their last major junior meet in Kazan.
Eighth seeds Roy King-Jhy Dar were tipped to march all the way to the quarter-finals but they were beaten in the third round by Hong Kong’s Ko Shing Hei-Lui Chun Wai.
Roy King-Jing Err, seeded sixth in the mixed doubles, reached the quarter-finals before falling to a tame defeat by Thailand’s third seeds Ratchapol Makkasasithorn-Benyapa Aimsaard.
A victory for Roy King-Jing Err could have salvaged at least a bronze for Malaysia to avoid returning empty-handed from the world junior meet for the first time since 2014.
Roy King-Jing Err also let the team down during the mixed team competition’s crucial tie against Hong Kong.
With the tie at 2-2, the world No. 16 cracked under pressure and lost 19-21,14-21 to Lui Chun Wai-Yeung Pui Lam for Hong Kong to advance to the quarter-finals as Group B champions.
The defeat saw Malaysia missing out on a top-eight finish for the first time since the mixed team event’s inception in 2000.
“I expected more from our established players such as Roy King and Jing Err.
“They were supposed to lead by example, ” lamented Yoke Meng.
“Their performances were just average, nothing outstanding. I’m disappointed with them.”
As the seniors failed to impress, Wan Arif Wan Junaidi-Haikal Nazri provided the bright spark in the boys’ doubles by reaching the last eight.
The duo are only 17 and will still be eligible to play in next year’s edition.
“I hope the younger ones... the 16 and 17 year-olds, have learned an invaluable lesson from this year’s tournament, ” said Yoke Meng.
“The experience gained from this top-level competition should help them to grow. They should know by now the weaknesses they have to work on and make their presence felt next year.”
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