KUALA LUMPUR: The national junior squash players have been set a realistic quarter-final target for the World Junior Individual Cham-pionships at the National Squash Centre in Bukit Jalil from July 30-Aug 4.
Squash Racquets Association of Malaysia director Mej (Rtd) S. Maniam said it will be a great result if any of them can enter the semi-finals as a place in the last four will guarantee a bronze medal.
“For both the boys and the girls, we expect them to reach the last eight. If they get into the semis, it will be an outstanding result as it requires them to get an upset or two,” said Maniam.
He added that their toughest challengers will come from the Egyptians who are clear favourites to take home both titles.
Penang Junior Open champion Siow Yee Xian will lead the boys’ group of Danial Nurhaqiem, Duncan Lee, Amir Amirul Azhar, Adam Agan Aziz and Darryl Gan.
In the girls’ event, Under-19 Asian Junior champion Chan Yiwen and Aifa Azman are the nation’s strongest hopes of bagging a medal at the National Squash Centre in Bukit Jalil.
The other girls are Ooi Kah Yan, Noor Ainaa Amani Ampandi, Yee Xin Ying and Aira Azman.
“Yee Xian has the quality and ability to get a good result. If he can perform well on the day, he could spring a surprise.
“For the girls, Aifa and Yiwen have a fighting chance of getting into the semis but it will be very difficult as the competition is stiff.
“Hopefully, with home-ground advantage it will push them to achieve better results.”
In the girls’ event, Egypt’s Hania El Hammamy, who is ranked 15th in the world, is a good bet for the title after two unsuccessful attempts in 2017 and 2018.
Her teammates Jana Shiha and Farida Mohamed are among the top-five seeds.
World No. 29 Mostafa Asal will be aiming to defend his title and is expected to face compatriot Omar El Torkey in the final.
“The Egyptians are highly ranked in the PSA (Professional Squash Association) rankings even though they are just juniors.
“We’re nowhere close to them, so it’s going to be very tough to beat them.”