Malaysia's badminton hopefuls are shining bright in Europe, winning four out of five categories at Hellas International 2021
The Future Series tournament finals held yesterday, 5 September, in the city of Lavrio was dominated by Malaysia's young contingent.
They took home gold in all the categories they partook in, namely men's singles, men's doubles, women's doubles, and mixed doubles.
Malaysia did not have a shuttler participating in the women's singles in Greece.
Valeree Siow contributed to two of the victories, winning the women's and mixed doubles with Low Yeen Yuan and Yap Roy King respectively.
The men's singles gold was won by 20-year old Lee Shun Yang, while the men's doubles title was captured by the pair of Haikal Nazri and Wan Arif Wan Junaidi.
This strong showing continues their hot run of successive victories on tour
A week prior, Malaysia won three titles at Latvia International 2021, in which Valeree and Yap won their first ever senior title together.
They beat out fellow Malaysian duo Nurfirdaus Azman and Low to clinch the mixed doubles title.
Valeree then partnered up with Low to take the women's doubles title, just the titles she went on to sweep again in Greece.
The men's doubles final in Latvia saw another all-Malaysian clash, whereby Nurfirdaus teamed up with Yap to beat Haikal Nazri-Wan Arif.
The national junior badminton contingent have been going from strength to strength on their World Tour this year, reported Stadium Astro.
They nabbed three titles at the Polish Open in March, followed in May by two victories at Slovenia International 2021 and the Austrian Open each.
Three more titles came in June via the Spanish International, before the successes in Latvia and Greece.
All in all, Malaysia has won 17 of badminton's lower-tier titles this year alone.
Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) coaching director, Wong Choong Hann, is pleased with their dominance.
However, he does not want the team to get carried away.
"We set the bar high for these players because the Future Series is the lowest tier tournament," Wong was quoted as saying by New Straits Times.
"Note that, there are no players from China, Korea, or even Japan. So we expect our players to win these tournaments," the legendary shuttler-turned-coach said bluntly.
Wong – now 44 – assumed the role of BAM coaching director at the beginning of 2019, and has overseen the emergence of Malaysia's new crop of national shuttlers, chief among them Lee Zii Jia.
"Having said that, these (victories) are good baby steps for them to realise where they stand and what is expected of them," he concluded.
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