PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian challenge in the singles events of the World Junior Badminton Championships came to an end at the Incheon World Gymnasium in South Korea yesterday with the shock exits of the country’s top boy's and girl's shuttlers – Mohd Arif Abdul Latif and Lydia Cheah.
But two boys' pairs and a mixed doubles combination saved the day for Malaysia.
Through to the quarter-finals were Arif-Vountus Indra Mawan and Lim Khim Wah-Mak Hee Chun; and Goh Wei Shern-Sanatasah Saniru.
The 17-year-old Arif, who was the third-fourth seed in the singles, went down tamely to Park Sung-min of South Korea. He lost the fourt round match at 10-21, 16-21 in just 26 minutes.
It was also the end of the road for the ninth-16th seeded Lim Fang Yang. He was beaten 17-21, 13-21 by China’s Zhou Wenlong.
The biggest disappointment was Lydia.
After her sensational runner-up finish in the Asian Juniors in July, high hopes were placed on her. But the second seeded Lydia went down to a 11-21, 21-17, 17-21 defeat by South Koream Bae Youn-joo in a 43-minute match.
Lydia’s teammate Vivian Hoo also did not make it to the quarter-finals, losing 14-21, 10-21 to top seed Wang Yihan of China.
Yihan is the clear favourite to win the title following her superb showing in the World Cup last wek where she defeated senior teammates Zhang Ning and Xie Xingfang en route to emerging as the champion.
Team manager How Kim Tho said: “The unseeded Korean was in superb form against Lydia, who has to improve on her consistency. She produce a top class display but she can also lose easily to a lesser player.”
“Arif did not play as well as he did in the mixed team event. I hope to see a strong comeback from him in the doubles event.”
Yesterday, Arif-Vountus, who were the runners-up in the Asian Juniors, defeated England’s Peter Mills-Chris Adcock 21-17, 21-14 to set up a meeting with Kim Ki-jung-Lee Jung-hwan of South Korea.
Khim Wah-Hee Chun also made it to the last eight after a hard-fought 21-23, 21-15, 21-19 win over Denmark’s John Skovgaard-Christian Larsen. They will take on India’s Jishnu Sanyal-Akshay Diwalkar and they look good to reach the semi-finals.
However, the challenge in the mixed doubles could come to an end today.
Unseeded Wei Shern-Sanatasah, who defeated Chang Pei-hsing-Cheng Po-hsuan of Taiwan 21-11, 21-14 in the third round yesterday, are up against third-fourth seeds Hu Wengqing-Wang Xiaoli of China.
* Matches involving Malaysians
n BOYS’ SINGLES
Fourth round: Zhou Wenlong (Chn) bt Lim Fang Yang 21-17, 21-13; Park Sung-min (Kor) bt Mohd Arif Abdul Latif 21-10, 21-16.
n BOYS’ DOUBLES
Third round: Lim Khim Wah-Mak Hee Chun bt John Skovgaard-Christian Larsen (Den) 21-23, 21-15, 21-19; Mohd Arif Abdul Latif-Vountus Indra Mawan bt Peter Mills-Chris Adcock (Eng) 21-17, 21-14.
n GIRLS’ SINGLES
Fourth round: Wang Yihan (Chn) bt Vivian Hoo 21-14, 21-10; Bae Youn-joo (Kor) bt Lydia Cheah 21-11, 17-21, 21-17
n GIRLS’ DOUBLES
Third round: Ma Jin-Wang Xiaoli (Chn) bt Ooi Swee Wern-Amelia Anscelly 21-14, 21-9; Sari Shinta Mulia-Siti Nor Ashikin (Sin) bt Woon Khe Wei-Goh Liu Ying 23-21, 21-16.
n MIXED DOUBLES
Third round: Goh Wei Shern-Sanatasah Saniru bt Chang Pei-hsing-Cheng Po-hsuan (Tpe) 21-11, 21-14; Kolding Pieler-Line Kruse (Den) bt Mohd Lufti Zaim Abdul Khalid-Goh Liu Ying 22-20, 21-10; Li Tian-Ma Jin (Chn) bt Tan Wee Kiong-Woon Khe Wei 21-17, 21-14.