Wednesday February 20, 2013
Vanessa confident girl’s Asian junior team will reach final in South Korea
By AFTAR SINGH
KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia are seeded third in the girls’ Asian junior team squash championships which begins today in Seoul, South Korea.
Top national junior player Vanessa Raj is confident that they have a good chance of reaching the final.
Only eight teams will feature in the girls’ competition and Malaysia are drawn in Group B with defending champions Hong Kong, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
Group A comprises second seeds India, Japan, China and hosts South Korea.
At the last championships in Colombo, Sri Lanka two years ago, Malaysia lost 2-0 to Hong Kong in the final.
The 17-year-old Vanessa said that they should not have any problems against Pakistan and Sri Lanka and should qualify for the semi-finals.
“We will face a strong challenge from top seeds Hong Kong to top the group. A win over favourites Hong Kong will give us a better chance to qualify for the final,” said Vanessa, who will be featuring for the second time in the championships.
The other members in the team are Rachel Arnold, Celine Yeap and Teh Min Jie.
India are expected to top Group A while Japan, China and South Korea will be fighting for the other spot in the last four.
Malaysia will open their campaign against Pakistan today before they take on Sri Lanka tomorrow. They will wrap up the group fixtures against Hong Kong on Friday.
Meanwhile, 15 teams will battle it out in the boys’ competition.
Malaysia, seeded fourth, are drawn in Group D with Kuwait, Taiwan and Sri Lanka.
Pakistan, the runners-up in the last championships in Colombo in 2011, are drawn in Group A with Qatar and Iran while Group B comprises defending champions India, Jordan, China and South Korea.
Group C consists of third seeds Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore and Lebanon.
Sanjay Singh Chal will lead the boys’ team. The other members are Mohd Syafiq Mohd Kamal, Darren Chan Li Tunn and Mohd Amir Farhan Ampandi.
Malaysia will face Taiwan today followed by the matches against Sri Lanka and Kuwait tomorrow.
The top two teams will qualify for the quarter-finals on Thursday. The semi-finals and final will be played on Saturday and Sunday respectively.
Team manager Raymond Arnold said that the girls have a good chance to reach the final while the target for the boys is to qualify for semi-finals.
“We hope for a good start in the championships tomorrow and the players should rise to the occasions to give their best in the knockout stage,” said Raymond.