JUNIOR shuttlers from Penang displayed great consistency as they maintained their act in the five-day 100Plus National Interstate Under-12 and Under-16 Team tournament.
For the second year running, these juniors captured three of the four prizes and earned a handsome RM6,000.
They were crowned champions in the Boys Under-16, Boys Under-12 and in the Girls Under-12 team events.
Their only hiccup was in the Girls Under-16 challenge. But Penang coach Razlan Abdullah still wore a delightful smile because the Under-16 girls finished third and still won RM500.
“I have every reason to be happy. It’s never an easy feat to bag three gold medals and a bronze for the second year in a row, ” said Razlan at the end of the five-day challenge at the Bukit Dumbar courts in Jelutong.
“Our ability to maintain such a performance clearly reflects the consistency of our players, even when our youthful ones are coming and going when they come of age.
“As such, the glory rightfully belongs to the players themselves. They deserve to equally share the bulk of cash awards earned, ” he said.
For Ong Zhen Yi, who celebrated his 16th birthday on the final day of the challenge, it came as his most accomplished moment since he delivered the team’s winning point in their 2-1 triumph over arch-rival Kuala Lumpur.
Until his winning display, Penang’s hopes hung in the balance against Kuala Lumpur, with Samuel Lee crashing to a straight game defeat to Justin Hoh at 21-13,21-15.
The Penang partnership of Goh Boon Zhe and Rayner Beh Chun Meng stood up boldly against Bryan Jeremy and Muhammad Fariq Razif to put Penang back on level terms, winning a hard-fought battle 21-17,14-21,21-18. And from then on there was no looking back as the Penangites took control.
When Zhen Yi stepped into the court for the decisive second singles, his 21-13,21-15 victory over Hooi Shao Herng in 40 minutes firmly confirmed Penang its third title.
And the crowd even sang him a birthday song.
In the Boys Under-12, Penang edged its northern neighbour Kedah 2-1, while the Girls Under-12 outfit handed Kuala Lumpur a 2-0 defeat, without having to play the second singles.
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