Nur Ezzani stars in U-21 netball final


KUALA LUMPUR: There was double delight for 15-year-old Nur Ezzani Mohd Nor of Kuala Lumpur in the National Under-21 netball championships yesterday. 

The lanky goal shooter Ezzani sank 49 points to help KL beat defending champions Johor 59-52 in the final at the Juara Stadium in Bukit Kiara here. 

The Form Three student of the Bukit Jalil Sports School's (BJSS) scored a total of 193 points in the four-day tournament to win the top scorer award as well. 

And Ezzani is in line for a triple joy. The Malaysia Netball Association (MNA) is expected to call up several players from the Under-21 meet to join the national senior team and Ezzani, who stands at 1.77m tall, is set to be among them. 

THE CHAMPIONS: KL netball team celebrate after beating Johor 59-52 in the national Under-21 meet at Stadium Juara Sunday.

Although Ezzani played with a heavy strap on her knee in the final, she was glad that she could put up a strong performance to help KL topple Johor, who were also the gold medallists in Sukma (Malaysia Games) last year. 

“We knew it would be tough against Johor, who are powered by two national shooters (S. Aruna and Siti Norhanizah Ahmad). But our defenders played very well and I managed to play my part to score consistently,” said Ezzani. 

She gave her team a scare when she fell in pain in the second quarter. But she was back on her feet after treatment and went on to put KL in front at 28-25. Both teams were tied at 13-all in the first quarter. 

“We have been training together since early this year and all our hard work has paid off. I hope I can get a place in the senior squad,” said Ezzani, who was a member of the Malaysian side, who finished as the runners-up to Sri Lanka in the Asian Junior Championships last year. 

There was also more joy for the KL when their defender, Nurul Ain Ramlan, was named as the best player of the tournament. 

Yesterday, Nurul was instrumental in throwing Aruna and Norhanizah off rhythm. 

RESULTS 

Final: Kuala Lumpur bt Johor 59-52. 

Third-place playoff: Perak bt Selangor 33-31. 

AWARDS 

Top scorer: Nur Ezzani Mohd Nor (Kul). 

Best player: Nurul Ain Ramlan (Kul). 

Fairplay: Sabah. 

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