GEORGE TOWN: Sarawak’s Ma Si Yi capped a fairy-tale ending in the National Schools Sports Council (MSSM) squash championships.
Just a day after ousting second seed Lai Wen Li of Sabah in the semi-finals, Si Yi stunned top seed Nur Aliah Izzati of Kedah 16-14, 6-11, 11-6, 12-10 to bag the girls’ Under-18 title on Tuesday.
The 16-year-old from Miri was ecstatic after winning her maiden MSSM squash title, having come close before losing to Kedah’s S. Sivasangari in the Under-15 final in 2014.
“I’m delighted to win my first MSSM title,” said Si Yi. “I knew I’ve been playing well since the tournament started ... and that I stood a good chance of beating Nur Aliah in the final. It was a tough match, but I made fewer mistakes and took my chances well.
“I haven’t thought about which tournaments to compete in this year, but my immediate priority is to make the cut for the Sarawak team for our home Sukma (Malaysia Games) in July.”
Despite Nur Aliah’s defeat, Kedah still took home three titles.
Ong Sai Hung led the way with his first MSSM boys’ Under-18 crown while the Azman sisters – Aira and Aifa – lived up to their top billing in the girls’ Under-12 and Under-15 finals respectively.
Sai Hung was taken the full distance by Negri Sembilan’s Darren Rahul before prevailing 11-6, 11-8, 6-11, 3-11, 14-12 in the final.
Both players contested several umpiring decisions in the highly-charged match, but Sai Hung held his nerves to save a couple of match points before winning the deciding fifth game 14-12.
“Our previous matches had been close, so it was no surprise the final went to five games. We were both put off a bit by several bad calls by the umpire, but I’m glad I won,” said Sai Hung.
Aira and Aifa wrapped up their finals in straight games. Aira downed Sehveetra Kumar 11-6, 11-7, 11-8 in the all-Kedah Under-12 final while Aifa overcame Sabah’s Jessica Keng 11-3, 11-6, 11-7 in the Under-15 final.
Negri Sembilan’s Ameeshenraj Chandran created an upset in the boys’ Under-12 final when he ousted top seed Joachim Chuah of Selangor 12-10, 11-3, 11-2.
In the all-Kuala Lumpur boys’ Under-15 final, top seed Danial Nurhaqiem overcame a spirited performance from team-mate Muhammad Harris before winning 12-10, 11-5, 10-12, 11-6.
The players will now compete in the team events, which will end on Friday.
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