A day of close matches saw a few matches go all the way to a couple of deciding points in the fifth. The day kicked off with playoff matches that proceeded into semi finals. The first semi final in each age group seem to be a lot more difficult than the semi final in the top half of the draw.
In the boys under 13 Hammas Tararr of Pakistan won a brutal match against Jesse Foo of Malaysia as they went all the way in a match that finished 20-18 in the fifth. Each player holding match ball in the deciding fifth but not being able to find the winning point until Hammas eventually got there.
The second semi final was also tight as Dev Vazirani continued his giant killing run by defeating Tin Lok Lau of Hong Kong in a nail biting fifth game as well. The Indian was behind most of the way in the fifth and the Hong Kong boy led 10-8 in the decider before Vazirani fought back to win 14-12.
In the boys under 15 semi finals Mohammed Al Sarraj got the better of Ng Kai Yu of Hong Kong again in five close games. This match went all the way to a deciding fifth with Al Sarraj just holding it together better at the end. This was in contrast to the other semi final where Ng Eain Yow of Malaysia defeated Robin Mann of India 11-2, 11-3, 11-4.
Boys under 17 saw two rather straight forward semi finals with Kush Kumar who looks in good form disposing of Chris Lo from Hong Kong three games to love. The other semi final was rather straight forward as well with Gurshan Singh defeating Vijay Kumar of India again three games to love.
The boys under 19 will be an all Pakistan final after Ali Bhokari defeated second seed Mahesh Mangaonkar in what was a match full of lets. Ali just held it together slightly better at the crucial times. Mahesh finishing off games with a couple of tins and a rather fortunate nick for Ali at the back of the court on match ball. Defending under 19 champion Danish Atlas Khan saw off last years under 17 winner Ahmed Al Sarraj in what was a good match.
In the Girls under 13 competition Nur Aliah of Malaysia knocked out yesterdays giant killer Ashita Bhengra three games to two and in the final she will play Nga Ching Cheng from Hong Kong who came through her semi final three games to love.
The Girls under 15 final will be an all Malaysian affair after top seed Sivasangari defeated Mihiiya Methsarani from Sri Lanka three games to love. The opening game being tight before Sivasangari stamped her authority on the match. Zoe Foo created the other upset by beating Harshit Kaur of India three games to one.
Girls under 17 final will be an all Hong Kong affair after Choi Uen Shen defeated second seed Vanessa Raj in four games. Uen Shen will face her team mate Tze Lok Ho in the final in what promises to be a very interesting match.
The girls under 19 will see defending champion Anaka Alankamony of India taking on Ho Ka Po from Hong Kong as Anaka looks to defend her title.
Live on TV too
It was very good to see local TV here and giving us some much needed coverage to get the sport moving forward. This morning we had National TV3 covering the matches live and in the afternoon was The National Sports Channel giving us a couple of hours of air time.
Tonight there is a cruise organised for all the teams to take part in and this is a very good way for the teams and the players to bond outside of the courts and also get a chance to look at Kish Island in ways that we may not have seen before [we want photos! Ed].
Tomorrow is a rest day as the players prepare for what could be the biggest days of their lives.
The Indian View
Nine Indians played the semi finals at the 19th Asian Junior Squash Championships here at Kish Island, Iran with 3 entering the finals.
Unseeded Dev Vazirani (boys u13) saved 2 match balls in the decider before defeating higher ranked opponent Nga Ching Cheng from Hong Kong. Dev’s aggressive game and ability to keep the ball in play paid dividends in the end. Anaka Alankamony (girls u19) & Kush Kumar (boys u17) played with supreme confidence to enter the finals defeating Ka Hei Chu from Hong Kong and Cheuk Hin Cris Lo also from Hong Kong respectively. Anaka is the defending champion and hopes to become the first indian to win back to back Asian titles, she will play against Ho Ka Po from Hong Kong while Kush plays Gursharan Singh from Malaysia in the finals.
Mahesh Mangaonkar (boys u19) and Ashita Bhengra (girls u13) lost in marathon matches lasting well over an hour. Mahesh clawed his way back from 1-2 however was unable to clinch the 5th game while Ashita let go of her 2-1 lead losing in the fifth.
A rest day, with the final being played on Saturday 23, June 2012
Girls u13 – Semi final Girls u15 - Semi final Girls u19 - Semi final Boys u13 - Semi final Boys u15 - Semi final Boys u17 - Semi final Boys u19 – Semi final
Ashita Bhengra (IND) lost to Nur Aliah Anis Mohammad 2-3
Nikita Joshi (IND) lost to Nga Ching Cheng (HKG) 0-3
Harshit Jawanda (IND) lost to Zoe Yuk Han FOO (MAS) 1-3
Anaka Alankamony (IND) bt Ka Hei Chu (HKG) 3-0
Dev Vazirani bt Tin Lok Lau (HKG) 3-2
Robin Mann (IND) lost to Eain Yow NG (MAS) 0-3
Kush Kumar (Ind) bt Cheuk Hin Cris Lo(Hkg) 3-0
Vijay Meena (IND) lost to Gurshan Singh(Mas) 0-3
Mahesh Mangaonkar (Ind) lost to Syed Ali Bukhari (Pak) 2-3
Girls u13 – Semi final
Girls u15 - Semi final
Girls u19 - Semi final
Boys u13 - Semi final
Boys u15 - Semi final
Boys u17 - Semi final
Boys u19 – Semi final