Saturday February 23, 2013
Squash: Malaysia edge Japan to reach boys’ semi-finals in Seoul
By AFTAR SINGH
KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia bounced back to edge Japan 2-1 to reach the boys’ semi-finals in the 16th Asian Junior team squash championships in Seoul yesterday.
Playing at No. 1, Sanjay Singh Chal surprisingly went down 7-11, 14-16, 4-11 to Ryosei Kobayashi in the opening tie.
Fortunately, Mohd Amir Farhan Ampandi levelled the scores for Malaysia by beating Ryunosuke Tsukue 11-6, 11-2, 11-4. And Mohd Syafiq Mohd Kamal delivered the winning point by whipping Yusuke Ogata 11-6, 11-0, 11-6.
Malaysia, seeded fourth, will take on second seeds Pakistan, who edged hosts South Korea 2-1, for a place in the final. The other semi-final is between defending champions India against third seeds Hong Kong.
Team manager Raymond Arnold was delighted to see Malaysia reach the last four but expressed his concern over Sanjay’s form.
“He lost twice in the opening ties against Kuwait (which Malaysia won 2-1 in their last Group D match) and now Japan. Against Pakistan, we’ll start as underdogs. And I hope Sanjay will be back to his normal self,” said Raymond.
The Malaysian girls’ team, who had earlier qualified for the semi-finals on Thursday, were beaten 2-1 by defending champions Hong Kong in their last Group B match.
The Vanessa Raj-led team will face second seeds India in the semi-finals today. Hong Kong will take on Group A runners-up Japan in the other semi-final.
Raymond believes Malaysia have a strong chance of beating India.
“It’s going to be tough for us to win the opening tie against India’s No. 1 Anaka (Alankamony). But I think we have a fighting chance of winning the next two ties. I hope our players will rise to the occasion to get the desired results,” said Raymond.
Quarter-finals: Pakistan bt S. Korea 2-1, Malaysia bt Japan 2-1 (Sanjay Singh Chal lost to Ryosei Kobayashi 7-11, 14-16, 14-11; Mohd Amir Farhan Ampandi bt Ryunosuke Tsukue 11-6, 11-2, 11-4; Mohd Syafiq Mohd kamal bt Yusuke Ogata 11-6, 11-0, 11-6), Hong Kong bt Kuwait 2-1, India bt Iran 3-0.
Group A: India bt Japan 3-0, Taiwan bt China 3-0.
Group B: Hong Kong bt Malaysia 2-1 (Ho Ka Po bt Vanessa Raj 11-3, 11-3, 11-4, Choi Uen Shan lost to Rachel Arnold 9-11, 11-5, 4-11, 2-11; Ho Tze Lok bt Celine Yeap 11-6, 11-4, 11-3); Pakistan bt Sri Lanka 2-1.
Semi-finals: Pakistan vs Malaysia, India vs Hong Kong
Semi-finals: India vs Malaysia, Hong Kong vs Japan.