Wednesday, January 08, 2014

SRAM has high hopes

FIRM BELIEF: Targeting a Malaysian to win the world junior title in 2016 or 2017

MONDAY'S British Junior Open successes have bolstered the Squash Racquets Association of Malaysia's (SRAM) belief that a Malaysian can become a world junior champion by 2017.

S. Sivasangari and Aifa Azman won their first British Junior titles in the girls' Under-15 and Under-13 events respectively while Ng Eain Yow was runner-up in the boys' Under-17.

Ong Beng Hee (1998) and Nicol David (1999 and 2001) were Malaysia's only world junior champions but SRAM president Datuk Syed Mustaffa Syed Ali is convinced another world beater will emerge from its stable soon.

To back up SRAM's conviction, Syed Mustaffa said the association has informed the World Squash Federation that Malaysia will bid for the World Junior Championship for Under-19 players, in either 2016 or 2017.

"I think it was a good achievement and it shows that our development programmes are working," said Syed Mustaffa yesterday.

"It has been a long time since we last had a world junior champion and if we can encourage more states to develop juniors, we will have a bigger pool of players.

"We have set 2016 or 2017 to win a world junior championship, and we have informed the world body that we will bid for one of those two tournaments."

Malaysia last hosted the World Junior Championships for women in 2001 when Nicol won her second title in Penang.

The men's World Junior Championship in 1982 and the 1993 women's tournament were also held in Kuala Lumpur.

This year's world junior tournament will take place in Windhoek, Namibia along with the boys' team championship, which is held in alternating years with the girls' team championship.

Syed Mustaffa also praised Kedah for its junior development programme with both Aifa and Sivasangari, Malaysia's sixth and seventh British Junior Open champions, hailing from the state.

"It took Kedah eight years to reach this stage and we hope to uncover more talent from other states," said Syed Mustaffa.

"We want to capture these talent and focus on the long term. That is our aim."

S. Sivasangari (left) and Aifa Azman won the girls’ Under-15 and Under-13 titles respectively at the British Junior Open.
By DEVINDER SINGH | devinder@nst.com.my
Read more: SQUASH / BRITISH JUNIOR OPEN REVIEW: SRAM has high hopes - Other - New Straits Times

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