PETALING JAYA: Players from the Bukit Jalil Sports School (BJSS) gave heart-warming performances in the just concluded National Grand Prix Finals with Norsyahliza Baharum stamping her mark in the tournament played at the Negri Sembilan Chinese Recreation Club (NSCRC) Hall in Seremban.
The 17-year-old Negri Sembilan lass scored upset victories over national trainee Woon Sze Mei and K. Sugita and went on to give Vietnam SEA Games champion Wong Mew Choo a run for her money in the women's singles final.
Her outstanding performances should give her a place in the team for the Uber Cup qualifying tournament, which will run simultaneously with the men's Thomas Cup qualifiers at the Kuala Lumpur Badminton Stadium from Feb 17-22.
Besides Norsyahliza, Julia Wong also gave a very determined performance in the GP Finals.
The 17-year-old Julia showed true grit despite being hospitalise due to dehydration after her group match against Sze Mei but she still found enough strength to come back the next day to book a place in the semi-finals against Mew Choo.
Said BJSS coach Pang Cheh Chang: “I am satisfied with their performances. They had to divide time between studies and training. Although they were at a disadvantage, some of them gave the seniors a run for their money.
“Norsyahliza, especially, is a very skilful player and she has a bright future.
“The better performances from the BJSS student are the results of the changes we made over the last one year. We identified some girls with talent and ensured that they trained with the boys.
“Several boys were also given targets to achieve and they were groomed towards that. We now have a reliable pool of junior players.”
Doubles pair Tan Boon Heong-Hoon Thien How also showed promise for the future.
They upset the back-up squad's Jack Koh-Mohd Fairuzizuan Mohd Tazari 7-15, 15-11, 11-15 in a men's Group A match.
Malaysia will bank on these youngsters to produce good results in the Asian junior and world junior championships in July and October respectively. The venues for these tournaments have not been finalised.