High five of 2019 hard to emulate at Asian Juniors

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia will find it tough to match their brilliant success of winning five titles in 2019 when the Asian Junior Squash Championships begins in Pattaya, Thailand, today.

Malaysia secured the boys’ Under-17 title through Nathan Queh and Under-13 through Wong Lee Hong, and won three out of the four titles in the girls categories through Chan Yiwen (Under-19), Aira Azman (pic) (Under-15) and Andrie Goh (Under-13).

National assistant head coach Andrew Cross said it will be difficult to gauge Malaysia’s chances as the Asian Juniors was not held over the last two years due to Covid-19 and some of Malaysia’s strong contenders have moved to the senior ranks.

Nathan and Yiwen have moved up to the senior ranks in the Under-19 while Aira will be gunning for the Under-17 title.

“We did very well to win five titles in the Asian Juniors but that was three years ago. The tournament this time will be unpredictable and although many of our players are the top seeds, it’s not a clear indication of the competition they will face in Pattaya,” said Cross.

“The only event where there is a clear favourite is the boys’ Under-19 where Noor Zaman (of Pakistan) looks very strong. The form and progress of players from other countries are almost unknown as many have not played in any international tournaments for more than a year.

“Joachim Chuah played very well in the National Championships but he is together with three other Malaysians in the same half of the draw. Only one goes through to the final and they have to face Noor.

“Harleein (Tan) has a good chance in the girls’ Under-13 while Aira has the experience to do well. Our players are the top seeds in several other events and we have to wait and see if they can justify that.”

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