Tuesday June 14, 2005
Juniors aim to justify Asian squad selectionBy RAJES PAUL
KUALA LUMPUR: Chong Wei Feng and Norsyahliza Baharum will get to justify their selection in the squad for the Asian Junior championships with good showings in the Pahang Open, which begins on Thursday at the Sukpa Indoor Stadium in Kuantan.
World junior boys’ singles quarter-finalists Wei Feng and Uber Cupper Norsyahliza are among the 14 players named by the Project 2010-2012 squad’s chief coach, Rashid Sidek, for the Asian meet in Jakarta from July 11-17.
TEEN ON A MISSION: Norsyahliza hopes to shine at the Pahang Open to justify her selection for the Asian Junior Championships.
In the Pahang Open, the 18-year-old Wei Feng is tipped to play against top seed Lee Chong Wei in the quarter-finals.
At the Kedah Open, Wei Feng was beaten 2-15, 3-15 by veteran Wong Choong Hann in the second round.
For the 18-year-old Norsyahliza, the Pahang Open is her first tournament since winning the Asean schools gold medal last July.
After taking a break to recover from a knee surgery and to concentrate on her Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM), Norsyahliza resumed training in February.
She has been drawn to play against national championships runner-up Lydia Cheah in the first round of the Pahang Open, which has drawn eight players. If she advances, she will play against top seed Wong Mew Choo in the semi-finals.
Rashid hopes that his charges would give their opponents a run for their money in Kuantan.
“I have named the squad for the Asian junior meet. Some of them will be playing in the Open division in the Pahang Open and some will be competing in Division Two (Under-18). I am certainly looking forward to good showings from them,” said Rashid.
The recent national schools (MSSM) boys’ Under-18 champions and runner-up, Chan Kwong Beng and Mohd Arif Latif, are also in the squad for the Asian Juniors. They will play in Division Two.
“Wei Feng is our best bet in the Asian junior boys’ singles event. His standard is still far behind the seniors but I hope to see him put up determined performances,” said Rashid.
“Norsyahliza is making a comeback to competition after a long break. But she has showed to be the better player in training.”
On the team’s target for the Asian Juniors, Rashid said: “The most experienced player in our team is Tan Boon Heong (who partnered Hoon Thien How to win the world junior boys’ doubles title last year).
“Thien How is not eligible to play in the Asian Juniors and Boon Heong will pair up with Goh Yin Jing. They will be our hope in the boys’ doubles.
“I will be satisfied if we have at least one finalist. China and South Korea will be the main threat for all in this meet.”
In last year’s Asian Juniors in South Korea, Malaysia’s best performers were Boon Heong-Thien Hoon. They lost in the doubles quarter-finals. In the boys’ singles, Tan Chun Seang reached the second round.
Boys’ singles: Chong Wei Feng, Chong Li Qun, Lee Hock Lai, Chan Kwong Beng, Mohd Arif Latif.
Boys’ doubles: Tan Boon Heong-Goh Yin Jing.
Girls’ singles: Julia Wong, Norsyahliza Baharom, Lydia Cheah, Vivian Ho.
Girls’ doubles: Sabrina Chong-Ng Hui Lin, Haw Chiou Hwee-Julia Wong.
Mixed doubles: Tan Boon Heong-Haw Chiou Hwee.