Andrew Cross reports from Kish Island
The 19th Asian Junior Championships got under way today in the wonderful Kish Island. Last night saw a fantastic opening ceremony that was attended by many high profiled people related to sports within Iran and we thank them for giving up their time to come and support the event.
The hospitality has been brilliant so far and the teams have been welcomed with open arms to this beautiful country. The tournament that is coming together under the new president for Kish squash Alireza Sanaei and his team that have done really well in organising this event.
The tournament began this morning with a few easy matches then in the middle of the day that seemed to change after a massive match between the second seed in the boys under 15 event Mohammed Al Sarraj and the unseeded Junaid Muzaffer from India played a match that went all the way. Muzaffer initially led two games to love before the second seed began to fight back the third was 11.9 and in the fourth Muzaffer held game balls but they were saved by Al Sarraj and eventually he just maintained a few points advantage in the fifth to close it out.
Most of the rest of the days matches went according to plan in the boys side there were a few upsets but on the whole matches went according to seeding. A slight power cut for 25 minutes in the middle of the day didn’t seem to affect the squash in fact it seemed to get better. In the late evening the locals put on a good performance against some of the higher ranked opponents.
Soheil Shameli was given a very tough draw opening his account by taking on the defending champion Danish Atlas Khan from Pakistan. Soheil started well as usual backed by huge vocal support that chant and cheer after every point and something which all the Iranians seem to thrive off. Soheil was leading in the first game by a few points but then Danish just began to get back into the game. The second was again neck and neck and this time was stolen by Soheil before in games three and four Danish wound up the gears to win 11-3 and 11-1.
On the centre court was Ali Bhokari and he was been given a good test by Farzad Shokouhi with the Pakistan player winning three love. Finally Ali’s support was rewarded on the left hand side court when Erfan Jamshidi beat the 5/8 seeded player Abhishek Pradhan of India by three games to two with Ali hiding behind the scaffolding not being able to watch the final point.
Tomorrow we move on to the quarter finals and their promises to be some great matches