Juniors make seniors sweat at national table tennis meet

Low Yu Xuan

The outcome at the recent Malaysia Open Table Tennis Tournament, has given Table Tennis Association of Malaysia (TTAM) officials much to smile about.

The juniors gave their seniors a run for their money in the 56th edition of the annual meet at Dewan Sekolah Menengah Pay Fong in Melaka from Dec 17 to 20.

The tournament saw 130 players taking part.

Low Yu Xuan, 13, kept fans at the edge of their seats in a nail-biting women’s singles quaterfinal against Podium Programme player and eventual tournament winner Ho Ying.

Low from Melaka took the first two games (11-7, 11-7) and held on 11-11 in the third game before losing 11-13 to her Johorean opponent. Ho went on to win the fourth game 11-7 and the fifth game 12-10.

Ho later defeated Karen Lyne Ak Dick from Sarawak 4-1. The joint bronze winners were 2019 SEA Games athletes Tan Ai Xin (Johor) and Alice Chang Li Sian (Sarawak).

“The succession plan which TTAM has been advocating and practising is working well. The seniors can’t take their positions lightly anymore. We have many promising players, mostly the girls, and they have been playing very well despite going up against older opponents in this tournament,” said TTAM vice-president Datuk Michael Tiah.

“We need to nurture these young talents and with proper guidance and training they will mature into international medal winners.”

Other junior players who displayed good performances against the seniors were 17-year-old Too Ying Chuen (Sarawak) who partnered Christopher Isaac Goh to win the men doubles bronze.

Im Li Ying, 16, and Lim Jing Shuen, 13, of Kuala Lumpur won bronze in the women doubles while Lee Xin Ni, 13, (Selangor) and Choong Javen, 16, won the bronze in the mixed doubles.

In the women’s doubles, Ho Ying-Tee Ai Xin (Johor) took the gold after beating Alice Chang-Karen Lyne (Sarawak) 3-1 in the final.

The joint bronze winners were Look Lee Peng-Oh Yong Xia (Penang) and Li Ying-Jing Shuen (Kuala Lumpur).

In the men’s singles final, Choong Javen (Selangor), bronze medallist at the 2019 SEA Games, defeated Muhd Shakirin Ibrahim (Armed Forces) 4-1. Danny Ng Wann Sing (Kuala Lumpur) and Wong Qi Shen (Kedah), who is also a SEA Games 2019 bronze medallist, were joint bronze medal winners.

The tournament also saw a hard-fought win by Muhd Ashraf Haiqal Rizal-Mohd Hashri Fikri against Shakirin and Chai Kian Beng (Armed Forces) with a score of 3-2 in the men’s doubles. The joint bronze winners were Choong Javen-Amos Ling Yi Heng (Selangor) and Christopher Issac-Too Ying Chuen (Sarawak).

Hashri Fikri, who donned national colours last year, returned to the national stable in August.

“Hashri managed to get into the top 10 and is able to defeat many national team trainees (thus him being back in the squad),” said Tiah.

“Players need to be consistent and at their best at all times. We are pleased that the standard and quality of play have gone up.”

In the mixed doubles final, Tan Yi Heng-Lim Jing Shuen (Kuala Lumpur) defeated Christopher Issac-Alice Chang (Sarawak) 3-1. Ong Cheong Sae-Ho Ying (Johor) and Choong Javen-Lee Xin Ni (Selangor) were joint bronze medal winners.

In the men’s team event, Kuala Lumpur A won the gold, Selangor A took silver and Armed Forces settled for bronze. Johor won the women’s team event while Sarawak played bridesmaid and Kedah came in third.