A tight race for places in Asian and World Juniors

  • Squash
  • Friday, 21 Feb 2020

Duncan Lee (left) in the boys’ Under-19 final at the National Squash Centre in Bukit Jalil - Filepic

PETALING JAYA: The top junior players can no longer sit back and hold court with the others giving them a run for their money in the just concluded National Junior Squash Championships.

A happy Squash Racquets Association of Malaysia (SRAM) director Major (Rtd) S. Maniam now wants more of the same leading up to the Asian and World Junior Championships this year.

Maniam was especially impressed with the likes of Duncan Lee and Noor Ainaa Amani Ampandi who did well to win their first National Junior titles in the Under-19 category.

Jessica Keng also caught his eye with her battling performance against Ainaa in the semi-finals where she gave a good account of herself despite having only a short period of training with the national team.

Maniam was also pleased with Yee Xin Ying and Andrik Lim who gave top seeds Aira Azman and Amir Amirul Azhar respectively a run for their money before losing narrowly in the U-17 category boys and girls finals.

“Aira just nicked ahead to win the title but these two players (Xin Ying and Andrik) are definitely the ones to watch, ” said Maniam.

“Besides these players, those in the lower age groups such as Goh Zhi Xuan, Anrie Goh (both Girls’ Under-15 semi-finalists) and U. Thanusaa (Under-15 finalist) have all shown improvement, ” added Maniam.

The junior players will need to keep impressing the squash director and coaches as they will be battling it out for the right to represent the country in the Asian Junior Championships (June 29-July 3) in Qingdao, China, and World Juniors (July 19-30) in Gold Coast, Australia.

Maniam has given an assurance that all players will be given a fair chance to prove their worth and selection will not be based only on rankings.

“Usually the top four players in their respective age groups select themselves for the Asian Juniors. But I will look into their current performances as well, ” explained Maniam.

Those who did not do well in the National Juniors will get more opportunities to impress in two upcoming tournaments – Rising Star National Junior Circuit first-leg involving Under-9, Under-11, Under-13 categories (March 4-8) and National Junior Circuit first leg for Under-15, Under-17, Under-19 categories (April 8-12).

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