The juniors gave seniors a scare during the 56th Malaysia Open Table Tennis Tournament held at Dewan Sekolah Menengah Pay Fong, Malacca from 17 to 20 December, 2019.
It was a nail biting match in the quarter-final stage when 13-year old Low Yu Xuan from Malacca had a good chance to eliminate Podium Programme player Ho Ying of Johor.
Yu Xuan took the first two games 11-7, 11-7 and putting everyone on the edge of their seats at 11-11 before losing the third game 11-13 to Ho Ying.
Ho Ying then went on to win the fourth game with 11-7. It was another thrilling match in the fifth game when both players were at 10-10 level score. But experience gave the win to Ho Ying who won the match 12-10 winning overall (3-2) against Yu Xuan.
Ho Ying went on to win the rest of her matches taking the gold medal defeating Karen Lyne Ak Dick (Sarawak) in the finals with the score of (4-1). Joint bronze winners were SEA Games 2019 bound players Tee Ai Xin (Johor) and Alice Chang Li Sian (Sarawak).
“The succession plan which TTAM has been advocating and practising is working well. Seniors can’t take their senior positions lightly nowadays just because they are seniors. We have many promising hopes players, mainly the girls, and they perform very well despite playing against much older opponents in this tournament.
“We need to nurture these young talents and we are certain with proper guidance and training they will mature into international medal winners,” said Dato Michael Tiah, Vice President, TTAM.
Other junior players who played commendably against seniors were 17-year old Too Ying Chuen (Sarawak) who partnered Christopher Isaac Goh (Sarawak) to win the men doubles bronze, 16-year old Im Li Ying and 13-year old Lim Jing Shuen (Kuala Lumpur) who won bronze in the women doubles category as well as 13-year old Lee Xin Ni (Selangor) who partnered 16-year old Choong Javen to win bronze in the mixed doubles category.
The 56th Malaysia Open Tournament consists of men team, women team, women singles, women doubles, men singles, men doubles and mixed doubles.
In the women’s doubles, Ho Ying & Tee Ai Xin (Johor) took the gold eliminating Alice Chang Li Sian & Karen Lyne Ak Dick (Sarawak) in the finals with the score of (3-1).
The joint bronze winner pairs were Look Lee Peng & Oh Yong Xia (Pulau Pinang) and Im Li Ying & Lim Jing Shuen (Kuala Lumpur).
In the men’s singles category, Choong Javen (Selangor), bronze medallist at the recent SEA Games 2019 defeated Muhd Shakirin bin Ibrahim (Angkatan Tentera Malaysia) in the finals for the gold medal with the score of (4-1).
The joint bronze winners were Danny Ng Wann Sing (Kuala Lumpur) and Wong Qi Shen (Kedah), also a SEA Games 2019 bronze medallist.
The tournament also saw a hard-fought win by the pair of Muhd Ashraf Haiqal bin Rizal & Mohd Hashri Fikri against Muhd Shakirin bin Ibrahim & Chai Kian Beng (Angkatan Tentera Malaysia) with a score of (3-2) in the men’s doubles event.
The joint bronze winners were Choong Javen & Amos Ling Yi Heng (Selangor) and Christopher Issac Goh Kho Hian Hui & Too Ying Chuen (Sarawak).
Mohd Hashri Fikri who is an ex national player in 2018 is now back to train with the national team since August 2019 and has shown impressive play.
“He managed to get into the top 10 list and in fact can beat many of the trainees in the national team,” observed Dato Michael Tiah.
“Under our high impact performance training programme and selecting players based on merit of play, all players need to be consistent and at their best at all times. We are pleased to see the standard and quality of play from the players have levelled up and bar has been raised,” Dato Michael Tiah explained.
In the mixed team event, gold was won by Tan Yi Heng & Lim Jing Shuen (Kuala Lumpur) who went against Christopher Issac Goh Kho Hian Hui & Alice Chang Li Sian (Sarawak) in the finals with a score of (3-1).
The joint bronze winners were Ong Cheong Sae & Ho Ying (Johor) and Choong Javen & Lee Xin Ni (Selangor).
Last but not least, in the men’s team event, Team Kuala Lumpur (A) took the gold, Selangor (A) took silver and team Angkatan Tentera Malaysia settled for bronze.
In the women’s team event, Team Johor took the gold, followed by Team Sarawak (silver) and Team Kedah (bronze).
Organized by the Malacca Table Tennis Association, the 56th Malaysia Open Table Tennis Tournament, drew a total of 130 participants from 10 states and 2 Federal Territories.
The Malaysia Open Table Tennis Tournament is where all top players nationwide congregate to compete for the prestigious status as crème de la crème of Malaysia’s table tennis contingent to represent the country in International Table Tennis tournaments.
It was definitely grueling and competitive. Apart from showing off their talents, players are to demonstrate qualities of sportsmanship, ethics, teamwork, professional conduct as well as respect for other players, coaches, umpires and officials.
As the tournament is aimed at scouting talents to represent Malaysia internationally, the following new initiatives were taken to make the tournament more exciting:
a) To allow 2018 Men and Women’s team event Champion and Runner-up to send 2 teams.
b) To reward cash prizes for both Men’s and Women’s team event.
c) Top 10 players from this Championships will be given an option to train with the national training team next year.
d) Cash prizes of RM10,000 is sponsored by Vice President TTAM, Dato Michael Tiah.