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Formidable Malaysia creates history

Kunal Diwan

SQUASH / Indian boys outplayed in final; girls lose bronze to Hong Kong

Photo: V. Ganesan

HISTORIC TRIUMPH: The Malaysian boys and girls who won all the titles at stake in the Asian junior squash championship in Chennai, with (left to right) Dato A. Sani Karim, President, ASF, Sripathy, Chief Secretary, Government of Tamil Nadu, and N. Ramachandran, President-WSF. —

CHENNAI: Malaysia made history and swept the honours at the Asian junior squash championships here on Friday, adding the boys’ and girls’ team trophies to its twin wins in the individual events earlier this week.

The Malaysian boys took apart India in the final; Ivan Yuen dismantled Aditya Jagtap’s antics in the first match, and then Kamran Khan fought off a resilient Ravi Dixit to win the second match in four games.

A lesson for Aditya

The opening encounter was a lesson of sorts for Aditya — supposedly India’s premier junior player, who could only watch as Ivan created winning drop shots at will.

Such was the Malaysian’s dominance, that the only period in time when he was in deficit came in the third and final game, when Aditya won the opening point on his service.

“I had played him earlier in the singles event and knew what his game was all about,” said Ivan of Aditya later, as if in explanation of his win.

Down 0-1, India looked to Ravi Dixit to recreate his rallying instincts. Ravi delivered, but only for a game or so. He lost the first game, equalised in the second, and then went down in the next two to hand Malaysia its fourth title of the championships.

“I had to maintain composure. I lost the second game because I was slow off the blocks. Once I got my composure (sic), I knew I was the better player,” said Kamran.

Lows make it high

Earlier, two Lows translated into one big high for Malaysia in its girls’ team final against Korea. First up, top-seed Low Wee Wern ran through Sun Mi Song in straight games, and then Low Wee Nee made short work of Ji Hyun Lee to give Malaysia the girls’ team crown.

In the first match, Song resisted Wern bravely in the first game, but could manage just four points in total in the next two games. Wern’s level of play was streets ahead of her Korean rival’s on the day.

Pleased as punch at winning all the four titles at stake, Malaysian coach Jamie Hickox — who was also given the “Best Coach” award by the Asian Squash Federation, was modesty personified.

“We are not that superior a team… only; everything fell into place in this tournament. We trained hard before this event and the rhythm that some players struck at the preceding British Junior Open helped them lift their game at crucial junctures here,” he said.

World Squash Federation president N. Ramachandran was appointed patron of the Asian Squash Federation at its annual general meeting here on Friday.

“I am humbled by this appointment. My heart and soul will always remain with ASF,” said Mr. Ramachandran.

The meeting also witnessed the election of Malaysian Dato A. Sani Karim—former WSF vice-president—to the post of ASF president. Mr. Dato Sani replaced Mr. Ramachandran as the fifth ASF president after eight years of the latter’s tenure.

The meeting was also attended by delegates from 22 countries, who discussed the promotion and development of the sport in the region.

The results:

Boys’ team (final): Malaysia bt India 2-0 (Ivan Yuen bt Aditya Jagtap 11-4, 11-2, 11-6; Kamran Khan bt Ravi Dixit 11-7, 8-11, 11-6, 11-8).

Bronze medal play-off: Hong Kong bt Korea 2-0 (Leo Au bt Seung-Woo Jin 11-4, 11-4, 11-6; Nelson Chan bt Won-Suk Choi 11-8, 11-2, 11-3.

Girls’ team (final): Malaysia bt Korea 2-0 (Low Wee Wern bt Sun-Mi Song11-8, 11-2, 11-2; Low Wee Nee bt Ji-Hyun Lee 11-4, 11-4, 11-7.

Bronze medal play-off: Hong Kong bt India 2-0 (Tsz Ling Liu bt V. Anwesha Reddy 7-11, 11-8, 11-9, 9-11, 13-11; Tsz Wing Tong bt Anaka Alankamony 11-1, 11-5, 16-14).

Boys’ 5–6 place: Iran bt Qatar 2-1 (Kashani bt Ahmed Al-Tamimi 11-9, 10-12, 12-10, 11-9; Navid lost to Abdullah Al-Tamimi 7-11, 9-11, 8-11; Vahid bt Khalid E Al Handawi11-8, 11-2, 11-3); 7 – 8: Japan bt Sri Lanka 2-1 (Hayate Gunji bt Dilshan Senaratne11-7, 11-4, 7-11, 11-3; Ryosei Kobayashi lost to Kasun Weerasuriya 11-9, 7-11, 6-11, 6-11; Tomataka Endo bt Ravindu Laksiri 10-12, 11-9, 11-7, 11-7; 9 – 10: Chinese Taipei bt China 2-1: (Kai-Han Chuang lost to Meng Xiowmin 6-11, 14-12, 11-6, 7-11, 7-11; Chun-Yu Chang bt Wang Junjie 13-11, 11-9, 13-11; Ching-Han Chen bt Sheng Jiagi 12-10, 9-11, 5-11, 12-10, 11-5.

Girls’ 5 – 6: Singapore bt Sri Lanka 2-0 (Pamela Chua bt Randima Ranaweera 11-5, 11-3, 11-2; Mao Shi Hui bt Damindhi Udangawa 7-11, 11-9, 11-1, 11-4; 7 – 8: Japan bt China 2-0 (Mayu Yamazaki bt Li Dongjin11-4, 11-3, 11-6; Risa Sugimoto bt Gu Jinyue 11-7, 11-1, 11-8; 9th place: Iran.

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