KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian badminton closed the year on a high after the juniors pulled off a stunning 2-1 win over favourites China to lift the Asian Under-16 Boys’ Team Finals badminton championship at the KLBA Stadium in Cheras yesterday.
The team, made up of shuttlers from the Bukit Jalil Boys School (BJKSS), clinched victory through the first singles and the doubles matches to give Malaysia their first ever win over China in an international junior event.
Kuan Kam Chung gave Malaysia a fine start when he played aggressively to beat Wang Zheng Ming 21-14, 21-17 in the first singles match.
China crawled back into contention by winning the second singles match. Malaysia’s Teo Kok Siang put up a determined display against Gan Zhao Ling in a bid to seal victory.
However, the bigger and harder-smashing Chinese rival had the edge and won 21-19, 21-19.
A tireless Kok Siang, younger brother of former world junior boys’ doubles champion Teo Kok Seng, came back after a 30-minute break to partner Mak Hee Chun for the deciding doubles match. And they produced a superb comeback against Shi Yang-Zheng Ming to seal victory.
The Chinese pair dominated the first game to win 15-21. But the Malaysians broke their dominance after that. Kok Siang-Hee Chun led 9-8 for the first time in the second game and never looked back to win 21-17.
In the rubber, Kok Siang-Hee Chun were two points away from defeat at 16-19 but stormed back to force deuce before taking victory at 22-20.
BJSS coach Jeremy Gan was delighted. “Everyone performed well. The singles and doubles players showed good fighting spirit and were not afraid to take the fight to the fancied Chinese,” said Jeremy, who also partnered Chan Chong Ming to win the world junior doubles title in 1996.
Kok Siang, who hails from Batu Pahat in Johor, said they had been confident they could pull the rug from under China’s feet.
“We had a fighting chance once we managed to force rubber game because we were more confident of ourselves.”