PETALING JAYA: Expect the juniors to rise to the occasion at the World Junior Championships after poor showings in the major event over the past few years.
Singles coach Hazwan Jamaluddin is confident that the shuttlers can end Malaysia’s medal drought in the world junior meet from Sept 25-Oct 8 in Spokane, the United States.
Malaysia last won a medal in 2018 through Goh Jin Wei (gold, girls’ singles) and Pearly Tan-Toh Ee Wei (silver, girls’ doubles).
Hazwan has backed his charges to make amends for their disappointing outing in the Asian Junior meet in Yogyakarta in July where they did not win any medals.“They have been getting a lot of help tactically from senior coaches like Hendrawan and Datuk Tey Seu Bock during joint training sessions,” said Hazwan.
“I can see the players are more confident and their game has become more stable.
“Their attitude and performance in training have also been good. Our target is to win at least one medal.
“It does not matter if it comes from men’s singles, doubles, team or mixed doubles.”
The men’s team who will carry Malaysia’s challenge are Eogene Ewe, Mohd Faiq Masawi (singles); Aaron Tai, Khang Kai Xing, Bryan Goonting and Low Han Chen (doubles); while the women’s team comprise Ong Xin Yee, Siti Zulaikha Azmi (singles); Carmen Ting, Chong Jie Yu and Chan Wen Tse (doubles).
The players will compete in the mixed team event from Sept 25-30 before shifting their focus to the individual events from Oct 2-8.
In the mixed team, Malaysia have been drawn in Group C along with England, Latvia, Austria and Poland.
The top two teams in the group will advance to the quarter-finals.
Despite a favourable draw, Hazwan is not about to underestimate others.
“We can’t say it’s an easy draw as European players are capable of springing a surprise,” said Hazwan.