Brunei paddler books first round spot in Singapore meet

|     Fadhil Yunus     |

BRUNEI paddler Abdul Wafi Suhardi advanced to the first round of the 23rd Southeast Asian Junior and Cadet Table Tennis Championships after progressing from the Group ‘B’ preliminaries in the junior boys’ singles at the Toa Payoh Sports Hall in Singapore yesterday.

Abdul Wafi’s 11-7 12-10 11-3 victory over Laos’ Kose Vilaivong confirmed the Bruneian a place in the first round despite losing to Singapore’s hotshot Ethan Poh 6-11, 3-11, 1-11 in the opening group match.

However, the young paddler’s journey in the knock-out stages was cut short following a 9-11, 10-12, 11-6, 4-11 defeat to Malaysia’s Mohd Syazwan Salmi.

Abdul Wafi was the only Brunei representative who made it to the first round with his compatriots falling in the first hurdle.

The Brunei paddler was handed a lifeline after reducing the deficit to 2-1 in the third set against an opponent who represented his country in the World Team Championships last year.

There was further misery for Bruneian male paddlers Awangku Md Sufi Fakrullah Abdullah bin Pengiran Md Sufian and Jason Koh as well as female paddlers Fiona Hii and Leong Yi as they were all eliminated in the junior boys’ singles and junior girls’ singles.

Awangku Md Sufi was defeated 4-11, 3-11, 6-11 to Philippines’ Jann Mari Nayre and 5-11, 4-11, 3-11 to Singapore’s Josh Chua Shao Han in Group ‘D’ while Jason Koh lost 3-11, 7-11, 6-11 to Thailand’s Supakorn Pankhoyoi and 6-11, 8-11, 4-11 to Vietnam’s Phuong Long Ngo Bao.

Fiona was soundly beaten 3-11, 3-11, 8-11 to Singapore’s Nicole Lew Zermaine though she improved slightly in her final Group ‘B’ match of the junior girls’ singles in a 6-11, 2-11, 11-9, 2-11 defeat to Indonesia’s Minawati.

Leong was also defeated in straight sets in a 3-11, 7-11, 2-11 defeat to Philippines’ Sherlyn Love Gabisay before concluding her Group ‘K’ match with a 3-11, 6-11, 5-11 loss to Singapore’s Pearlyn Koh Kaixin.

Leong also lost 5-11, 3-11, 6-11 to Vietnam’s Phuong Uyen Ho.

The junior boys’ and girls’ doubles also suffered early exits in the first round though the junior girls’ at least contested a fourth set.

The junior girls’ pair of Fiona and Leong took the second set in the 4-11, 12-10, 4-11, 5-11 loss to Singapore’s Pearlyn and Yu Lu Hua.

The pair of Awangku Abdul Rasheed bin Pengiran Haji Md Noor and Awangku Md Sufi lost in straight sets in a 2-11, 6-11, 1-11 defeat to Singapore’s Bevan Tan Jin Kai and Josh Chua while Abdul Wafi and Jason missed the chance to move to the quarterfinals after a 6-11, 7-11, 5-11 defeat to the Malaysian pair of Fong Jay Shern and Mohd Syazwan.