Ampang Jaya BC gets off to a flying start in SSPL 2018/19

CYBERJAYA (21 December 2018): The fifth edition of the SS Purple League got off to a flying start as hot favourites, Ampang Jaya Badminton Club (AJBC) eked out a narrow 10-9 win over Petaling Badminton Club (Petaling BC) on the opening day at the Gem In Mall, Cyberjaya tonight.

Even without world number one, Kento Momota from Japan, who is scheduled to play in the later ties, AJBC still had enough firepower to edge out Petaling BC who staged an improbable comeback only to fall at the final buzzer.

Men’s singles, Tan Jia Wei got the ball rolling for AJBC when he upset higher ranked, Cheam June Wei in the opening men’s singles.

Jia Wei, ranked 118 in the world, produced a shocker against the world no 84, winning 3-1 (11-9, 9-11, 11-8, 8-6) within the 30 minutes time allocation.

AJBC strengthened their grip on the tie through national women’s no 1, Goh Jin Wei who continued her impressive form from the World Junior Championships, with an easy 3-0 (11-8, 11-3, 11-7) against Lim Yin Fun.

“It was not an easy win as it looks. I didn’t have time to test the court. Luckily I managed to adapt to the wind conditions,” said Jin Wei, who won her second world junior title in Markham, Canada recently.

Petaling BC managed to halt AJBC’s progress when men’s doubles pair, Aaron Chia-Man Wei Chong outclassed Lim Tze Jian-Low Juan Shen, 3-0 (11-4, 11-6, 11-3).

They then managed to cut AJBC’s lead to one point when Singapore-Australian mixed doubles pair, Terry Hee Yong Kai-Gronya Somerville beat Lukhi Nugroho-Masita Mahmudin from Indonesia, 3-2 (7-11, 11-9, 11-9, 8-11, 10-6) to trail 7-8.

But it was to no avail as Hsueh Hsuan Yi from Taiwan sealed victory for AJBC with a 2-2 draw over Iskandar Zulkarnain Zainuddin, (5-11, 11-9, 8-11, 9-5) as the buzzer sounded at the end of the 30 minutes.

Ampang Jaya BC are bidding to win their maiden title since the league’s inception in 2014 with only three teams having won it thus far, Muar City BC (2014/15 & 2015/16), Petaling Jaya BC (2016/17) and Puchong United BC (2017/18).

Earlier, Deputy Minister of Youth and Sports, Yang Berhormat, Steven Sim officiated the launch of the fifth edition of the SS PL 2018/19 with a symbolic opening ‘service’ to the crowd.

Later during the press conference, Steven, praised the Purple League’s efforts in providing a platform for up and coming badminton talents to shine and encouraged more parties to set up more badminton clubs to drive the development of talents in Malaysia.

“I would like to congratulate Purple League for the successful organization of this season’s series. We (the Ministry) encourage the setting up of more leagues and tournaments by the private sector.

“I can see that there is a good level of competitiveness among the badminton clubs in promoting and unearthing more talents in our country,” he added.

The SS Purple League 2019 features local and international players including Olympic medallists, world champions, former big names and rising stars on the international stage.

Players from the eight teams will compete in three stages in a single round robin format and play-off format for the coveted SS Purple League trophy. Total prize money for this season is RM1,500,000.

The SS Purple League 2019 will run from December 2018 to January 2019 beginning with Stage 1 on 21-24 Dec, 26-30 Dec and 2-6 Jan 2019 to be held at Gem in Mall, Cyberjaya. Stage 2 will be played on 11-13 Jan 2019, also at Gem in Mall, Cyberjaya. The final round will be held on 24-27 Jan 2019 at the Arena of Stars, Resorts World Genting.