Yoke Meng backs juniors to come good at Yogyakarta tournament


PETALING JAYA: Former national shuttler Kwan Yoke Meng (pic) has backed the junior team to end Malaysia’s medal drought in the Asian Junior Championships from June 28-July 7 in Yogyakarta.

Malaysia last won a medal in the 2018 edition in Jakarta through Pearly Tan-Toh Ee Wei, who captured silver in the girls’ doubles.

The tournament was not held from 2020 to 2022 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Yoke Meng, who coached the junior team in the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) from 2015 to 2023, believes the current crop of players can end the wait for a medal.

Malaysia’s challenge will be led by junior world No. 1 boys’ doubles pair Aaron Tai-Khang Khai Xing and national Under-18 champions Roslie Razeeq Daniel (boys’ singles) and Ong Xin Yee (girls’ singles).

The others selected in the team are Mohd Faiq Masawi, Sng Wei Ming, Kong Zhou Swin (boys’ singles), Siti Zulaikha Azmi, Oo Shan Zi, Dania Sofea Zaidi (girls’ singles), Carmen Ting, Clarissa San, Tan Zhing Hui, Nicole Chau, Noraqilah Maisarah Ramdan (girls’ doubles), Lok Hong Quan, Justin Goh, Datu Anif Datu Asrah (mixed doubles).

Dania, Clarissa and Noraqilah will also play in the mixed doubles.

“The team chosen this time is quite balanced and every player has a chance to win a medal,” said Yoke Meng.

“Our best bet will be in the boys’ doubles through Aaron-Khai Xing. They have won a few titles.”

His selection did not come as a surprise as Aaron-Khai Xing won the Thailand International Challenge in March, which was their first senior title. They also won Dutch Junior International title and finished runners up in German Junior.

“Normally, countries like China, Indonesia and South Korea will be the biggest threats for Malaysia in tournaments like this.”

Leong Jun Hao was the last Malaysian to win gold in the tournament when he triumphed in the boys’ singles in 2017.

The mixed team event this time will be held from June 28-July 2 followed by the individual competition from July 3-8.

The group stage draw for the team competition will be released today.

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