Darren shows his potential
DARREN Rahul Pragasam dethroned defending champion Ong Sai Hung to install himself as the country's top junior after winning the boys' Under-19 title at the National Junior Squash Championships in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.
After winning the Under-17 title last year, Darren seamlessly stepped up a category to add the national junior title to the Kuala Lumpur Junior Open crown he won last December.
Darren got the better of fellow national junior Sai Hung with an 11-7, 711, 11-5, 11-6 win in the final to emerge as a possible successor to world junior champion Ng Eain Yow, who has moved up to the senior ranks.
National junior Zoe Foo won the girls' Under-19 title in a limited field by beating joint-third seed Ma Si Yi of Sarawak 11-7, 11-6, 14-12 in the final.
Zoe, who won her maiden international title at the KL Junior Open last year, only needed to play two matches to win the title following poor response for the category.
Asian junior champion S. Sivasangari skipped the tournament to play PSA Tour events in North America while Andrea Lee and Aifa Azman are recovering from injury after helping Malaysia win the Asian Junior Team Championship title last month.
Si Yi reached the final after stunning defending champion Teh Min En 11-6, 11-8, 11-7 in the semi-finals.
Ooi Kah Yan outlasted Chan Yi Wen 7-11, 12-10, 7-11, 13-11, 11-8 to win the girls' Under-17 title after the duo knocked out top seeds Lai Wen Li and Nur Aliah Izzati Anis respectively in the semi-finals.
There were upsets galore in the boys' Under-13 competition which ended with joint-fifth seed Hi Jia Rong of Sarawak winning the final by beating joint-ninth seed Shamiel Haeyzad Sharulhisam of Negri Sembilan 12-14, 8-11, 11-5, 11-6, 11-5.
Former British Junior Open Under-13 champion Jessica Keng of Sabah took home the girls' Under-15 title while Duncan Lee, runners-up at the British Juniors this year, was beaten by Amir Amirul Azhar in the boys' Under-15 final.
RESULTS (all finals) — Boys' Under-19: Darren Rahul Pragasam (SRAM) bt Ong Sai Hung (SRAM) 11-7, 711, 11-5, 11-6; Under-17: Siow Yee Xian (Mal) bt Hafiz Zhafri Harif (BJSS) 11-7, 11-9,
11-2; Under-15: Amir Amirul Azhar (BJSS) bt Duncan Lee (BJSS) 7-11, 11-2, 4-11, 11-7, 11-8;
Under-13: Hi Jia Rong (Sar) bt Shamiel Haeyzad Sharulhisam (NS) 12-14, 8-11, 11-5, 116, 11-5; Under-11: Harith Danial Jefri (Sar) bt Abdul Fahmi Abd Basir (Ked) 11-8, 11-4, 11-4;
Girls' Under-19: Zoe Foo (SRAM) bt Ma
Si Yi (Sar) 11-7, 11-6, 14-12; Under-17: Ooi Kah Yan (BJSS) bt Chan Yi Wen (BJSS) 711, 12-10, 7-11, 13-11, 11-8; Under-15: Jessica Keng (Sab) bt Wong Heng Wai (Ked) 11-8,
11-4, 11-0; Under-13: Aira Azman (Ked) bt Sehveetrraa Kumar (Ked) 11-5, 11-4, 11-4;
Under-11: Anrie Goh (Ked) bt C. Sashmini (Pk) 11-3, 8-11, 11-9, 11-5.
Darren Rahul Pragasam