GEORGE TOWN: National junior squash player Ong Sai Hung is eager to put the disappointment of the World Junior Championships behind him.
The 17-year-old from Kedah wants to win the Malaysian Junior Open Squash Championships 2016 boys’ Under-19 title at the Nicol David International Squash Centre in Penang this week to heal his sorrow.
In Poland two weeks ago, Malaysia crashed to a shock defeat to South Africa in the men’s team event. Sai Hung lost to Richard-John Kuhn 5-11, 11-8, 11-5, 6-11, 11-7 in the opening tie, and the South Africans went on to deny Malaysia a top 12 finish.
“Although I made it to the last 32 in the individual event, the loss to South Africa still haunts me. We had high hopes of securing a top eight finish for Malaysia,” said Sai Hung.
“I have the Malaysian Junior Open here this week to make amends. I’m in good form, and feeling confident of nailing my first national title in the Under-19 category.”
Sai Hung moved into the last eight without much trouble after defeating Selangor’s Dheena Dharshan Sivabalan 11-4, 11-2, 11-8 in the second round.
The third seed, who won the national Under-17 title at the same venue last year, will take on fellow national junior Darren Rahul Pragasam is the quarter-finals on Thursday.
However, it is the potential semi-final clash against top seed Jahromi Sajad of Iran which Sai Hung is looking forward to.
“I have never played Jahromi before, but he is a talented player. I expect to meet him in the semis, and I am confident of beating him here.”
Jahromi booked his place in the last eight after defeating Tomomine Murayama of Japan 11-7, 11-7, 11-9.
The boys’ Under-19 second seed Ng Ka Yiu of Hong Kong crashed out after going down 11-8, 10-12, 11-7, 11-5 to South Korea’s Lee In-woo.
Besides Sai Hung and Rahul, the other local players through to the last eight in the category are fellow SRAM players Marcus Sim and Mohd Farez Izwan.
Both the Malaysian girls in action in the Under-19 first round on Wednesday made it safely through to the last eight without dropping a set.
Penang’s Sara Chew Rou Yi overcame Australian Zoe Massam 11-7, 11-6, 11-6 while SRAM’s Teh Min En defeated Ju Song-dong of South Korea 11-7, 11-6, 11-5.
The seeded players in the event, led by top seed Andrea Lee, will open their campaigns in the quarter-finals.
In the boys’ Under-11, Sarawak’s Harith Danial Jafri pulled off a major upset by ousting top seed Lee Chung Hin of Hong Kong 11-8, 11-8, 11-3.