Monday June 20, 2005
Memorable day for Penang shuttlers Hock Lai and Jing Yi
KUANTAN: Penang’s Lee Hock Lai and Tee Jing Yi denied siblings Vountus Indra Mawan and Sanatasah Saniru a double joy in the Pahang Open, winning the Division Two boys’ and girls’ singles titles respectively at the Sukpa Indoor Stadium here yesterday.
It was the first title for Hock Lai and Jing Yi in the national Under-21 competition.
Hock Lai, who was roped into the Project 2010-12 squad by Rashid Sidek early this year, showed true grit to beat Bukit Jalil Sports School’s (BJSS) Vountus 15-12, 15-7 in the final.
The win is certainly a big boost for Hock Lai ahead of the Asian Junior Championships, which will be held in Jakarta from July 11-17.
“I am certainly thrilled over this win. I have improved since joining the Project squad in March. I am fitter and faster now,” said the 18-year-old Hock Lai, who en route to the title defeated national schools (MSSM) champion Chan Kwong Beng in the semi-finals.
“I had trained in Penang for the last eight years (under state coach Yap Eng Seng and Chinese coach Teng Lei). It feels good to finally win a big title.
“This win will certainly give me confidence ahead of my first-ever appearance in the Asian Juniors. I aim to give my opponents a tough fight.”
It was also a proud day for 14-year-old Jing Ji. Despite pain on her knee, she toiled for 55 minutes to exact sweet revenge over Sabah-born Sanatasah, winning the final at 11-5, 12-13, 11-9. She had lost to the 15-year-old Sanatasah in the semi-finals of the recent MSSM championships.
“I am overjoyed with this win. It means so much to me. There has been nagging pain on my knee since last June and it affected my performances at the MSSM. But I did not let it bother me here today,” said the Form Two student of BJSS.
“It feels good to win an Under-21 title. I still have a long way to go and I plan to win many more junior titles.
“I hope that I will be selected for the Asian Schools and Asian Junior Championships next year.”
Jing Yi has been competing in the MSSM meet since she was 10 years old and her best achievements in the series are the Under-12 singles and doubles titles in 2003.
Project chief coach Rashid Sidek was happy that his gamble to take in a non-BJSS player in his squad had paid off.
“I saw the talent in Hock Lai in the junior circuit last year and I have given him the chance to prove himself. He is a fighter and I like this quality in him,” said Rashid. “Jing Yi also did well and she is certainly another player with lots of potential.”
The 16-year-old Vountus did not go back home totally disappointed yesterday. He teamed up with Mohd Arif Abdul Latif to beat Lok Chong Chieh-Kwong Beng 15-7, 15-9 in the boys’ doubles final.