By January 7, 2023 January 10th, 2023 Newsroom

Local badminton fans are in for another treat as top Johor shuttlers guaranteed their final spots

PONTIAN (7 JANUARY 2023): The 2023 Johor Close Badminton Champion is building up to a dramatic climax at the DBC Sport Arena in Pontian here tomorrow.

The opening U-21 men’s singles semi-final fixture saw Ariffin Nazri continued his smashing form as he overcame tournament favourite Azuan Amirul Imran 21-15, 21-15 in an entertaining 45-minute match.

It was a nail-biting affair in the opening set with Ariffin keeping his composure to finish off strongly in the first five minutes with a score of 9-2. Amirul then bounced back and kept Ariffin on his toes by leading the game 9-15.

Defending champion Dania Sofea stole the spotlight when she made short work of Ng Jing Yee 21-3, 21-8 in the U-16 girls singles semi-finals.

However, the experienced shuttler was no match to Ariffin’s aggressive style of play and ended up gifting Ariffin the first set lead with a score of 21-15. Ariffin eventually overcame his nerves in the second set and sailed into the next round when he defeated Amirul with a repeated score of 21-15.

Ariffin is set to play his archrival, Wee Yee Tern who defeated Liew Wen Jie 21-18, 21-16 in the other fiery semi-final tie. A jubilant Ariffin said he is looking forward to meet his fellow Johor counterpart in the final and expects an explosive clash.

“I’m delighted that my tactics has worked in this match and hope to continue this momentum in tomorrow’s crucial final match against my mate Wee Yee Tern.”

Azuan Amirul Imran in action against Ariffin Nazri in the U-21 men’s singles semifinal match.

“ I have had several sparring sessions with him in the past and I believe that I have a better edge in our upcoming final match,” said the confident Ariffin who recently excelled at the BWF World Junior Championship 2022 in Spain.

In the Under-16, Girls singles category defending champion Dania Sofea stole the spotlight when she made short work of Ng Jing Yee 21-3, 21-8 in the semi-finals. Danea from Albert Sports overcame her opponent in just 18 minutes.

Danea was delighted with her performance today and dedicated her victory to her parents and the Johor Badminton Association (Johor BA) for organising the tournament.

The badminton prodigy who recently excelled in the 2022 Asian Junior Championship in Bangkok said “I would like to thank my parents for always rendering their support in ensuring my success in this sport. I will also ensure that I sustain this championship tomorrow as a gift for my parents for all the sacrifices they have made in shaping me into a reputable athlete.”

Tanisha Nair in action against Kung Lee Ya which saw her winning the U-12 girls singles semifinal match 21-12, 21-11.

“I would also like to take this opportunity 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”.

The 2023 Johor Close Championship comprises of five categories, Under-21, Under-16, Under-14, Under-12 and Under-10. The final round of the tournament will be held tomorrow, 8 January at the DBC Sport Arena in Pontian, Johor.