Penang’s hopes of winning the the 100PLUS National Junior Inter State Under-18 mixed team badminton title were once again thwarted by defending champions Selangor who retained the title with a 4-1 win in the final at the Negeri Sembilan Chinese Recreation Club (NSCRC) hall in Seremban on Sunday.
The crushing win by the all-powerful Selangor team dashed Penang’s hopes of winning the title for their national junior Cheam June Wei as a farewell gift. June Wei will not be eligible to play in the much popular 100PLUS Under-18 championships next year.
This is the third year running Selangor have won the title. And for the second year running Kedah finished third with a 4-2 win over Kuala Lumpur in the playoff. Last year’s four placed Negeri Sembilan were beaten by Kuala Lumpur in the quarter-finals this year.
Despite the scoreline it was not an easy win for Selangor whose top singles player R. Satheishthran suffered a surprise defeat, losing to Tan Jia Wei 10-21, 21-19, 18-21 in a 62 minute match. All the five matches were decided over three sets.
Selangor team manager Thomas Lim said the turning point for the champions came in the mixed doubles when Eng Pui Yee-Low Hang Yi reeled off five points in a row to take the rubber for a 19-21, 21-14, 22-20 win against Penang’s Cheam June Wei-Ooi Shi Han.
“Winning the first point was a morale booster for us. It gave us the confidence. Even when Satheishtharan lost his match we were still confident of winning the title.
“But I must admit that it was close in all matches. If Satheishtharan dad won we would have wrapped up the match much earlier with a 4-0 scoreline,” said Thomas, adding that the week-long centralised training for the team at the Selangor BA Hall in Kampung Attap benefited the players.
Penang coach Razlan Abdullah was a disappointed man but praised his players for their overall performance.
“This is as far as we could go…our rezeki is only a runners-up position . The fact that we lost after taking our opponents the full distance showed that there is imporvement but we need to work harder on our weakness.
“It could have been different if we had one another one or two points in the closely fought matches. We we will come back stronger next year. June Wei did not perform well overall…probably he is more focused on the Asian Junior meet in Bangkok later this month,” said Razaln.
Kuala Lumpur coach Raymond Stevon was happy with the overall improvement of his team by finishing fourth after losing out in the quarter-finals over the last three years.
“We will be better prepared for next year. There is talent in the team,” said Raymond.
In the semi-finals Selangor were fully stretched before beating Kedah 4-3 while Penang triumphed over K. Lumpur by a similar scoreline.
Selangor 4 Penang 1
Satheishtharan lost to Tan Jia Wei 10-21- 21-19, 18-21
Muhammad Izzuddin Shamsul Muzli beat Yeoh Seng Zoe 21-14, 20-22, 21-15
Thinaah Muralitharan beat Kong Yi Jin 21-14, 19-21, 21-19
Ng Wan Win beat Lee Shun Mei 15-21, 21-15, 21-14
Eng Pui Yee-Low Hang Yi beat Cheam June Wei-Ooi Shi Han 19-21, 21-14, 22-20
THIRD & FOURTH PLACING
Kedah 4 K. Lumpur 2
Lee Zii Jia beat Mohd Iqram Muala Azman 21-19, 21-13
Rooben Raj lost to Leong Jun Hao 15-21, 15- 21
Muhd Syauqi Puzi-Ooi Zi Heng beat Mohamad Jojohanif Saha-Muhammad Aiman Abdul Malik 21-23, 21-15, 21-16
Pearly Tan Koong Le beat Carrie Tan Jia Le 21-11, 21-7
Eng Sin Jou beat Tan Sueh Joe 14-21, 21-18, 21-19
Abdul Jalil Sidek-Ong You Thien lost to Loh Bao Ying-Soh Wooi Yik 10-21, 15-21
Selangor 4 Kedah 3
Penang 4 K. Lumpur 3