Malaysia’s challenge in Birmingham stalled in the semi-finals

KUALA LUMPUR: The challenge of the young Malaysian players stopped as far as the semi-finals, after they lost to their respective opponents at the British Junior Open squash tournament in Birmingham, England, yesterday.

The three national representatives who advanced to the top four, namely Aira Azman, M. Nickhileswar and Jinooreeka Ning lost in their respective categories.

Aira which is ranked No. The world number 71 failed in her quest for a second title at the tournament when she fell to second seed Fayrouz Abouelkheir of Egypt 7-11, 7-11, 11-13 in the under-19 girls’ category.

In the match that took place earlier, Jinooreeka who made her debut at the British Junior Open also failed to the challenger from Egypt, Malika Taymour 7-11, 5-11, 7-11 in the under 13 girls category.

Malaysia’s sole representative in the men’s competition, Nickhileswar who holds the status as the first choice for the under-15 category succumbed to the 3/4 choice, Seif Refaay from Egypt in a fierce fight 11-5, 9-11, 17-19, 8-11.

With the elimination of all national representatives in the semi-finals, it was the first time Malaysia failed to win any title since 2017.

The assistant head coach of the national squad, Andrew Cross in his statement said that despite being eliminated in the semi-finals, he was not too disappointed with the results recorded by his men.

“I think Aira played quite well today (yesterday), but Fayrouz is clearly not an easy opponent considering that he is more experienced in the Professional Squash Association (PSA) Tour than his other challengers.

“Fayrouz managed to advance to the top 16 at the Hong Kong Open last month, and her actions are enough to give an impression of her ability, so Aira needs to be exposed at the same level,” he said.

As for Nickhileswar and Jinooreeka, according to Andrew, both players have potential and display good game quality and they also need to be given proper exposure after this.-MESSENGER

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