| Fadhil Yunus |
BRUNEI table tennis paddlers got off to a bad start in the 23rd Southeast Asian Junior and Cadet Table Tennis Championships 2017 after the junior boys’ team fell to an emphatic 3-0 3-0 3-0 defeat to Singapore in the opening day at the Toa Payoh Sports Hall in Singapore yesterday.
The trio Abdul Wafi Suhardi, Jason Koh and Awangku Md Sufi Fakrullah Abdullah bin Pengiran Md Sufian were convincingly dispatched by their Singaporean counterparts in the junior level tournament.
Singapore hurried towards the first set with Brunei’s Abdul Wafi Suhardi on the receiving end of an 11-1 11-8 11-2 humbling by the imperious Ethan.
However, Abdul Wafi showed fight in the second set and trimmed a 4-0 deficit to trail by within two points.
The Singaporean’s aggressive play armed with precise shot-making qualities proved a bridge too for the luckless Abdul Wafi in the final set in a repeat of the first.
Lucas Tan of Singapore put his team in the driving seat after making light work of Jason Koh winning in straight sets 11-1 11-2 11-7.
Kun Ting compounded Brunei’s misery after beating Awangku Md Sufi in straight sets 11-2 11-8 11-1.
Like Abdul Wafi, Awangku Md Sufi fared better in the penultimate set showing his attacking vigour and forcing his opponent into committing errors as the score reads 6-5 in favour of the Singaporean.
Awangku Md Sufi missed a chance to bring the score level to 7-7 when he struck his shot wide before missing the court during his opponent’s serve.
The Bruneian junior provided his shot of the set after his return kissed the tip of the court to net a well-earned point.
But Kun Ting responded with a smashing volley of his own before reaching match point with a miss from Awangku Md Sufi verifying the confirmation of the second set.
It was no match for Awangku Md Sufi in the final set as the unstoppable Singaporean powered to a 10-0 lead and the Bruneian’s solitary point merely delayed the inevitable.
Other results included losing 3-0 3-0 3-0 identically to both Indonesia and Thailand.
Brunei ended bottom of Group ‘A’ without a win and a game to their name with Thailand, Singapore and Indonesia occupying the top three.
Meanwhile, the junior girls’ team comprising Leong Yi, Fiona Hii and Hong Hui Qin fell to a similar score-line with the boys’ against the same opponents.
The junior girls team finished at the bottom of Group ‘A’ losing two matches without a game and a win to their name with the other loss coming against Indonesia.
The Brunei Cadet Boys did not have the same luck too as they went down to a 3-0 3-0 3-0 defeat to the Malaysia Cadet Boys.
Organised by the Singapore Table Tennis Association (STTA) and sanctioned by the Southeast Asian Table Tennis Association (SEATTA), the tournament saw a return to Singapore which previously hosted in 2002.
The winners and runners-up of the team events will qualify for the 2017 Asian Junior Championships to be held in Ansan, South Korea from June 29 to July 4.