Khai Xing-Aaron raise hope for Asian and world juniors after winning first senior title


Kang Khai Xing-Aaron Tai (right) with their medals after winning the Thailand International Challenge in Nakorn Ratchasima on Mar 31.

PETALING JAYA: Kang Khai Xing-Aaron Tai renewed Malaysia’s hopes of ending their title drought at the Asian Junior Championships when they clinched their maiden men’s doubles title at the Thailand International Challenge in Nakorn Ratchasima yesterday.

Unseeded pair Khai Xing-Aaron, who only dropped a game in the entire tournament, defeated second seeds Peeratchai Sukphun-Pakapon Teeraratsakul of Thailand 21-17, 21-18 in 36 minutes to clinch the maiden senior international title.

Malaysia, under tremendous pressure after continuous failures at the Asian Juniors, last won a title at the continental event in 2017 through Leong Jun Hao in Jakarta.

It has been 16 years since Malaysia last won a title in the boys’ doubles where Mak Hee Chun-Teo Kok Siang were victorious in Kuala Lumpur in 2008.

Khai Xing-Aaron were eliminated in the second round despite being the top seeds last year but national junior chief coach Jeffer Rosobin is looking forward to the duo to getting it right in this year’s edition from June 28-July 7 in Bali.

They will also compete in the World Junior Championships in Nanchang, China from Sept 30-Oct 13.

“It’s a good start for Khai Xing-Aaron and great motivation for the junior team. I hope they are able to continue this performance at the Asian and world juniors and other higher level tournaments,” said Jeffer.

“It is a very good exposure for Khai Xing-Aaron to further improve themselves before the compete at the Asian Juniors.

“We also have several senior tournaments lined up for them in Europe so that they will be well prepared for competition in Bali.”

Malaysia are traditionally strong in the boys doubles at the world juniors where they have won a total of seven titles but their last title was won by Nelson Heg-Teo Ee Yi in 2011.

Overall, 2018 was the last time Malaysia won at the world juniors through Goh Jin Wei.

Perhaps, Khai Xing-Aaron have shown that they have a fighting chance at both the Asian and world juniors if they can continue their current progress.

FINAL RESULTS

Men’s singles: Panitchapon Teeraratsakul (Tha) bt Ikhsan Rumbay (Ina) 21-19, 21-12.

Men’s doubles: Kang Khai Xing-Aaron Tai bt Peeratchai Sukphun-Pakapon Teeraratsakul (Tha) 21-17, 21-18.

Women’s singles: Riko Gunji (Jpn) bt Mutiara Ayu (Ina) 21-14, 21-15.

Women’s doubles: Laksika Kanlaha-Pataimas Muenwong (Tha) bt Lin Xiao-min-Liu Chiao-yun (Tpe) 12-21, 21-12, 21-16.

Mixed doubles: Pakapon Teeraratsakul Pataimas Muenwong (Tha) bt Marwan Faza-Felisha Alberta (Ina) 21-13, 21-9.

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