ISKANDAR PUTERI (12 FEBRUARY 2022): The 2022 Johor Close Badminton Champion is building up to a dramatic climax at the NS Sport Hall in Gelang Patah here tomorrow.
The main draw will be a “clash of the siblings” between Ashraf Daniel and his younger brother Ariffin Zazri in the men’s Under-21 final. In the semi-finals, gutsy Ashraf overcame tournament favourite Amirul Imran – 21-18, 7-21, 21-17.
It was a touch and go affair in the opening set with Ashraf keeping his composure to finish off strongly 21-18. But Amirul bounced back to whip Ashraf 21-7, who had no answer to Amirul’s aggressive style of play in the second set. In the rubber set, Ashraf overcame his nerves and sailed into the finals when he defeated Amirul 21-17.
Ashraf is set to meet his younger brother, Ariffin who defeated M. Shaarveen 21-18, 21-10 in the other semi-final tie. A delighted Ashraf said he is looking forward to meet his brother in the final and expects an explosive clash.
“I have been training with Ariffin for this tournament for the past month and the finals tomorrow will be more than just our sparring sessions at home”.
“I am proud of Ariffin for making it to the finals. I wish him all the best tomorrow. What ever it is our dream is to represent Johor and we hope that we will get the opportunity one day, ” said Ashraf.
In the Under-16, Girls singles category Dania Sofea stole the spotlight when she made short work of N. Tania 21-8, 21-11 in the semi-finals. Danea from Albert Sports overcame he opponent in just 20 minutes.
Danea was delighted with her performance today and thanked the Johor Badminton Association (Johor BA) for organising the tournament. She said “I thank the Johor BA for organising this tournament as it gives players like me an opportunity to play against the top talents in the state”.
The 2022 Johor Close Championship comprises of four categories, Under-21 , Under-16, Under-14 and Under-12. The final round of the tournament will be held tomorrow, 13 February at the NS Sport Hall in Gelang Patah.