PONTIAN (6 JANUARY): The second day of the 2023 Johor Close Badminton Championship witnessed some exhilarating action at DBC Sport Arena as players continued to lit up the court with notable victories over their respective opponents.
The limelight of the day was stolen by top seeded elite shuttler Ariffin Nazri Mohd Zakaria as he inspired a stunning comeback to overcome his rival Wee Yee Hern (21-17,21-17) in a fiery Round of 32 (U-21 Men’s Singles) fixture.
It was a touch and go affair in the opening set with Ariffin keeping his composure to finish off strongly in the first five minutes with a score of 8-2. Yee Hern then bounced back and kept Ariffin on his toes by leading the game 9-16.
However, the talented shuttler was no match to Ariffin’s aggressive style of play and ended up gifting Ariffin the first set lead with a score of 21-17. Ariffin eventually overcame his nerves in the second set and sailed into the next round when he defeated Yee Hern with a similar score of 21-17.
Ariffin was delighted with his performance today and thanked the Johor Badminton Association (Johor BA) for organising the tournament. He said, “I’m happy with my performance today however I still believe that I need to improve on few tactical aspects in my game in order for me to prevail in this tournament. I can’t wait to play in the Round 16 and I believe that my state counterpart Azuan Amirul Imran will be my toughest challenger in this tournament.”
The enthusiastic shuttler who recently competed and finished in the Round of 64 (U19 Men’s Singles) at the BWF World Junior Championship 2022 in Spain further added “I would like to 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”.
On the other hand, Arififin’s nemesis counterpart, Azuan Amirul Imran easily cruised into the Round of 16 of the U-21 Men’s Singles category as his opponent Jason Heng walked over from the Round 32 fixture due to an unknown reason.
The Under 14 boys doubles category saw Lee Kah Ying – Adam Aiman securing a notable (21-13, 21-13) victory against Toong Renkai – Vishal Uthayasangar while defending U-16 girls singles champion, Dania Sofea is expected to sustain her title in her Round of 16 clash against Wong Yuan Xuan at 8.15pm today.
The ongoing 11th edition of the 2023 Johor Close Badminton Championship will be a battleground for more than 600 badminton players across the nation partaking in five categories, namely in the Under 21, Under 16, Under 14, Under 12 and Under 10 categories.
The competition is being held from the 5 to 8 January at DBC Sport Arena, Pontian, Johor.