PETALING JAYA: Ng Eain Yow was only six months old when Ong Beng Hee became the first Malaysian to win the boys’ singles title in the World Junior Squash Championships in 1998.
Now, 18 years later, Eain Yow has emulated his childhood idol’s feat by capturing the world junior title in Bielsko-Biala, Poland, with a sensational performance on Thursday.
Eain Yow, already a three-time British Junior Open winner, was on top of his game as he brought down top seed and junior rival Saadeldin Abouaish of Egypt 11-3, 9-11, 11-7, 11-5 in the final.
In doing so, the 18-year-old Eain Yow, who has been under the CIMB Foundation Junior Squash Development Programme since 2009, carved his name into the history books as only the second Malaysian boy to have claimed the prestigious title.
Eain Yow’s win also denied Egypt a double after world No. 5 Nouran Gohar had earlier bagged the girls’ title by beating compatriot Rowan Reda 11-5, 11-6, 11-7.
Second seed Eain Yow started well in the title showdown, spraying his shots around to nick the first set 11-3 as left the bewildered Saadeldin strugging to find his footing.
The Egyptian, who came from behind to win his quarter-final and semi-final matches, staged a mini fightback in the second as he overturned a 5-8 deficit to take the set 11-9.
They say that when the going gets tough, the tough gets going. And that was exactly what Eain Yow did, responding to the challenge with an ice cool display to take the third set 11-7 before going on to seal victory in 54 minutes.
“It’s unbelievable ... becoming a world junior champion is something I’ve dreamed about since I started playing squash,” gushed Eain Yow, who shed tears of joy after the win.
“It’s really a dream come true for me ... it hasn’t sunk in yet.
“I really couldn’t have done it without my family’s backing, the efforts of the staff at the National Sports Institute (NSI) in keeping me healthy and the generosity of sponsors like CIMB Foundation for supporting me.
“Of course, thanks also to coach Andrew (Cross) for coaching me all these years.”
Eain Yow has been training under Cross since he was 11 and the coach was gushing with pride after watching his charge win the title.
“We have been aiming for this title for a long time ... Eain Yow really played amazing squash, especially in the first set,” said Cross.
Eain Yow has two more junior events before he graduates to the senior ranks – the Asian Junior Championships in KL from Sept 20-24 and the British Junior Open next January.
For now, he will turn his focus to the world junior team event.
Seventh-seeded Malaysia are in Group F with sixth seeds the United States, South Africa and Spain.
Malaysia will take on Spain in their first match before facing the Americans and the South Africans.