Ameeshenraj proves he can be relied on in team events

C. Ameeshenraj (front) in action.

PETALING JAYA: There is something special about rising star C. Ameeshenraj when it comes to team event as the super cool player proved his pedigree beyond doubt at the just concluded Asian Team Championships in Dalian on Sunday.

The 20-year-old debutant stepped up superbly with the score tied at 1-1 to clinch their decider against Tang Ming Hong to help Malaysia regain the trophy they last won at home in 2021 with a 2-1 scoreline.

On paper, it looked like a big gamble but coaches Sharil Shahidan and Nafiizwan Adnan were quite sure Ameeshenraj had the mental toughness to handle the situation and the youngster delivered.

The Seremban-born player already showed his mettle when he remained unbeaten in the 2022 World Junior Team Championship where Malaysia outperformed themselves to finish joint third with Pakistan as England upset Egypt 2-1 to finish champions in Nancy.

World No. 130 Ameeshenraj also justified his selection ahead of seniors like Sanjay Jeeva (No. 70) and Ong Sai Hung (No. 119) with a steady performance in Dalian where he had remained unbeaten.

“I definitely enjoy playing in team events. My teammates’ support have always pushed me to work harder on court and just being in a nice positive environment enabled me to perform well,” said Ameeshenraj.

“The coaches felt my game style would be good against Tang and I was also confident that I would be able to get the win.

“There was just a lot of mental preparation that was needed more than anything.

“I’m grateful for my teammates who were able to guide me through it every step of the way as they’ve had the experience of doing this before.”

The retirement of Ivan Yuen after the Hangzhou Asian Games had paved the way for Ameeshenraj to grab the opportunity to taste success at the continental level and he did it in style in Dalian without losing a match.

“I’m over the moon with the outcome as this is my debut and I also had to play a decider for the gold medal. My teammates definitely helped settle the nerves,” added Ameeshenraj.

The other experienced players in the team were world No. 13 Ng Eain Yow, Addeen Idrakie and Syafiq Kamal.

In the women’s final, Malaysia led by S. Sivasangari beat Hong Kong 2-0 for the title. They wrested the trophy form their rivals after losing 2-1 in South Korea in 2022.

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