GEORGE TOWN: The Squash Racquets Association of Malaysia (SRAM) may make an exception for Ng Eain Yow to feature in next year’s British Junior Open competition.
The two-time British Junior Open champion missed out on qualifying for next year’s edition after losing in the Penang (Malaysian) Junior Open Squash Championships boys’ Under-17 final to Bukit Jalil Sports School team-mate Mohd Syafiq Kamal on Sunday.
He still has one more shot at qualifying, if he emerges champion in the much tougher Asian Individual Junior Squash Championships on June 25-29 in Amman, Jordan.
“The qualification for the British Junior Open will be on merit and only those who win titles in either the Malaysian Junior Open or the Asian Junior meet in Amman will feature in England,” said SRAM secretary Christopher Brodie.
“However, Eain Yow is a special case as he is a two-time champion in England.
“We may consider giving him an exemption if he does not qualify on merit.”
Eain Yow, the reigning British boys’ Under-15 champion, had overcome Syafiq en route to winning the Milo All Star Junior Under-17 title two weeks ago but failed to repeat the feat when it mattered most in Penang.
This year marks the first time that the Malaysian Junior Open is used as a qualifier for the British Junior Open. In the past, performance in the Hong Kong Junior Open was used as the yardstick for selection. Seven Malaysian players won national junior titles in Penang on Sunday.
Syafiq (Under-17), Muhd Farez Izwan (Under-15), Daryl Gan (Under-13) and Kevin Shanmugam (Under-11) in the boys’ events, and on the girls’ side S. Sivasangari (Under-15), Ooi Kah Yan (Under-13) and Jessica Keng (Under-11) booked their tickets to England.
The seven players’ expenses for the British meet in January 2014 will be borne by the CIMB Foundation’s junior squash development programme.
Sivasangari, who will feature for the fourth time in England next year, said that competing in the British Junior Open is a dream for any young squash player.
“It is unlike any of the other junior tournaments that I have played in and I am happy to book my place in the event for the fourth straight year.
“After securing fourth, third and second place finishes in my last three British Junior outings, I hope to nail the Under-15 title next year,” said the 14-year-old.
Syafiq, who will also be featuring in the British meet for the fourth time, is not putting high hopes on his debut in the Under-19 category.
“It will be tough for me to shine against higher-ranked and older players in England, especially as I will be moving up to the Under-19 category in January.
“But I will cherish every opportunity to play there as the experience is invaluable,” said Syafiq, who is also the reigning Hong Kong Junior Open champion.