Saturday, May 18, 2024

Asian Junior titles shared by India and hosts Malaysia

The female medal winners line up in KL
The female medal winners line up in KL

Subramaniam and Senthilkumar win in KL
By HOWARD HARDING – Squash Mad Correspondent


The climax of the 23rd Asian Junior Individual Squash Championships in the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur saw the hosts maintain their hold on the women’s U19 title and India end Pakistan’s five-year stranglehold on the U19 men’s trophy at the Bukit Jalil National Squash Centre.

Sivasangari Subramaniam, winner of the Commonwealth Youth Games gold medal last year, was firm favourite to win the women’s crown – and reached the final without conceding a game.

The 17-year-old from the Malaysian state of Kedah faced a surprise opponent in the final after Japan’s Satomi Watanabe, the No.3 seed, upset second-seeded Malaysian Andrea Lee in the previous round.

Watanabe, the reigning Hong Kong and US Junior Open champion, recovered from 2/0 down to take the third game – but Subramaniam (pictured above in the presentation group) went on to extend her unbeaten record over the 17-year-old from Yokohama to win 11-8, 11-7, 4-11, 11-9 in 44 minutes and become the third successive Malaysian winner of the title.

The boys’ title goes to India
The boys’ title goes to India’s Velavan Senthilkumar

By contrast, India’s Velavan Senthilkumar was the second seed in the men’s event – in which Malaysian Eain Yow Ng was predicted to make up for his final defeat 12 months ago after becoming the World Junior champion last month.

But, in the championships’ biggest upset, Ng was stopped in the semi-finals – losing from 2/0 up to Jordanian Mohammad Al Sarraj.

The fourth seed from the Jordan capital Amman was hoping to become his country’s first ever Asian Junior champion – and established a 2/0 lead over Senthilkumar in the final.

But 18-year-old Senthilkumar, a product of the Indian Squash Academy in Chennai, mounted a determined fight back, going on to record a 12-14, 9-11, 11-6, 11-8, 11-7 victory after 56 minutes to become the first Indian winner of the title since 2010.

“I have been expecting this from Velavan – he has lived up to our expectations with his tremendous victory,” said a delighted Indian national coach Cyrus Poncha. “It is a proud moment!”

Asian Junior Individual Squash Championships, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Men’s Quarter-Finals:
[1] Eain Yow Ng (MAS) bt [5] Abhay Singh (IND) 11-9, 11-5, 11-6 (30m)
[4] Mohammad Al Sarraj (JOR) bt [8] Ong Sai Hung (MAS) 11-9, 13-11, 11-8 (37m)
[3] Ling To Yu (HKG) bt [7] Lai Cheuk Nam Matthew (HKG) 11-7, 12-10, 11-9 (33m)
[2] Velavan Senthilkumar (IND) bt [6] Alireza Shameli (IRI) 11-6, 11-4, 11-8 (41m)
[4] Mohammad Al Sarraj (JOR) bt [1] Eain Yow Ng (MAS) 7-11, 6-11, 12-10, 13-11, 11-8 (76m)
[2] Velavan Senthilkumar (IND) bt [3] Ling To Yu (HKG) 6-11, 11-2, 11-8, 11-6 (34m)
[2] Velavan Senthilkumar (IND) bt [4] Mohammad Al Sarraj (JOR) 12-14, 9-11, 11-6, 11-8, 11-7 (56m)

Women’s Quarter-Finals:
[1] Sivasangari Subramaniam (MAS) bt [11] Sunayna Kuruvilla (IND) 11-5, 11-6, 11-4 (23m)
[4] Zoe Foo Yuk Han (MAS) bt [7] Akanksha Salunkhe (IND) 11-8, 8-11, 11-7, 11-5 (31m)
[3] Satomi Watanabe (JPN) bt [16] Teh Min Ern (MAS) 6-11, 11-3, 11-1, 11-1 (27m)
[2] Andrea Lee (MAS) bt [5] Ho Ka Wing (HKG) 4-11, 11-6, 11-7, 10-12, 11-6 (43m)
[1] Sivasangari Subramaniam (MAS) bt [4] Zoe Foo Yuk Han (MAS) 11-5, 11-5, 11-5 (17m)
[3] Satomi Watanabe (JPN) bt [2] Andrea Lee (MAS) 11-7, 11-6, 8-4 ret. (49m)
[1] Sivasangari Subramaniam (MAS) bt [3] Satomi Watanabe (JPN) 11-8, 11-7, 4-11, 11-9 (44m)

Pictures courtesy of WSF 


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