Sunday July 1, 2012
M’sia go down to HK
By KNG ZHENG GUAN
PETALING JAYA: Malaysia’s bid to win the mixed team event in the Asian Junior Badminton Champion-ships suffered a severe blow after crashing to a 3-2 defeat against Hong Kong in a Group A match at Gimcheon, South Korea, yesterday.
The national junior shuttlers have played the bridesmaid role for two years running, both times losing to a far superior China in the final.
That situation did not seem likely to change in their first group match against Hong Kong when the mixed pair of Tan Wee Gieen-Chow Mei Kuan went down tamely 16-21, 20-22 to Lee Chun Hei-Yuen Sing Yin in the first match.
National junior champion Soong Joo Ven, however, equalled the tie with a superb fighting display to stun the more experienced Angus Ng Ka Long 18-21, 21-16, 21-16 in the boys’ singles.
But Hong Kong showed their quality when Ng Wing Yung thrashed Lim Yin Fun 21-17, 21-14 for a 2-1 lead.
They sealed the tie when Angus-Chun Hei combined well to defeat the Malaysian boys’ doubles pair of Darren Isaac Devadass-Tai An Khang 21-15, 18-21, 21-16.
Malaysia avoided further embarrassment when top girls’ junior pair Mei Kuan-Lee Meng Yean beat Sing Yin-Cheung Ying Mei 21-18, 21-11 for a final score of 3-2.
The Malaysians now need to defeat India in order to make the quarter-finals. India lost to Hong Kong 4-1 in a later match yesterday.
Despite the disappointing setback, BA of Malaysia (BAM) junior programme coordinator Hau Kim Tho believes that the defeat was a fair result as the Hong Kong team were actually stronger.
“It’s a disappointing result as the mixed pair should have won and given us the advantage,” said Kim Tho.
“But in reality, it’s a fair result because Hong Kong are much stronger and our boys’ pair did not really stand a chance against Angus-Chun Hei who have played together for five years. It’s a positive sign that they managed to steal a game from them.
“Joo Ven also played very well to beat Angus in the singles for his first win over the Hong Kong player. That was certainly the unexpected result.
“This is probably the toughest group in the tournament and, overall, our players did well for a start.
“We need to be wary of India though, and Joo Ven will really need to be at his best to beat their top player - Sameer Verma, who has a lot of experience from playing in senior tournaments.
“But it is the doubles that we are looking to win. It will be a lot easier if Joo Ven can overcome Sameer,” added Kim Tho.
There were no surprises in other matches as defending champions China crushed Vietnam 5-0 in a Group D match while strong favourites Indonesia thrashed Singapore with a similar scoreline in Group B.