CYBERJAYA (24 December 2018): It was the man they all came to see. Kento Momota was finally on court at a jam packed Gem In Mall, Cyberjaya, in the SS Purple League and the fans certainly got their money’s worth as the world number one put on a show to help Ampang Jaya Badminton Club (AJBC) win 11-9 against Kepong Badminton Club tonight.
The world number one was supposed to steamroll over national shuttler and world number 91, Soong Joo Ven but the world champion did not have his away as Joo Ven unleashed his inner ‘tiger’ to gave Momota the fright of his life.
Unaccustomed to playing in the 11 point , 30 minutes game format, Momota struggled at first with Joo Ven showing early dominance with some sharp smashes and good defensive work. Gradually getting into the game, Momota who was making his debut, used his superior skills and technical know-how to eventually win 3-0 (11-8, 11-6, 11-6).
“The rule is different from other tournaments, so I’m a bit nervous, but in the end I managed to adjust to the pace of the game.
“The pace of the game is very fast as it is played within 30 minutes. I can improve from my performance here for future tournaments,” said Momota through his translator, Miyuki Komiya.
AJBC was in a festive mood but they weren’t charitable to their opponents, Kepong BC, last season’s finalists as both teams fought tooth and nail until the decider.
Heir to the throne, Lee Zii Jia, who is tipped to become Malaysia’s number one in the future, fought back from a two game deficit to win 3-2 (9-11, 7-11, 11-4, 11-6, 5-4) over compatriot Lim Chi Wing.
World junior gold medallist, Goh Jin Wei then added more points to AJBC’s tally when she overcame Lin Jhih Yun of Taiwan 3-1 (11-10, 10-11, 11-8, 11-3) in the women’s singles.
Men’s doubles pairing, Lu Ching Yao-Yang Po Han from Taiwan, closed the gap to two points when they won 3-2 (6-11, 11-5, 6-11, 11-9, 10-4) against Malaysian-Indonesian pair, Low Juan Shen-Nugroho Lukhi Apri to leave Kepong BC trailing 6-8.
Malaysian-Hong Kong pairing, Mohd Arif Ab Latif-Ng Wing Yung then played the match of their life as they stunned Chan Peng Soon-Wong Kha Yan, 3-0 (11-10, 11-3, 11-7) to reverse the tie on its head, 9-8 to Kepong BC.
But it was to no avail as AJBC showed they are a force to be reckoned with in the fifth edition of the SS PL 2018/19.
In the earlier match, Serdang Badminton Club (SBC) staged an improbable comeback to steal victory, 12-11 against Tebrau City Badminton Club (TCBC) for their first win in the SS Purple League 2018/19.
He Bingyong, women’s singles, Lee Ying Ying and men’s doubles, Lee Jian Yi-Lim Zhen Ting won their matches to put SBC in the driving seat with a 9-6 lead.
Mixed doubles, China-Hong Kong pairing, Guo Yuchen-Yuen Sin Ying gave TCBC a glimmer of hope before Lee Chia Hao stole the tie from under TCBC’s noses with a 3-0 win against Indonesia’s Fikri Ihsandi Hadmadi.