MIRI: Top ranked among Under-13 boys by the Squash Racket Association Malaysia (SRAM), Harith Danial Jefri has been selected to represent Malaysia in the upcoming British Junior Open from Jan 3-7. But he needs additional funding to make the trip and realise his dream.
His mother Nur Farhani Chang @ Stephanie Melinda Chang, who will accompany the Miri boy to London, said they need around RM15,000 to fund the whole trip which includes return air tickets, accommodation and meals.
“I have booked the tickets but yet to pay for it and we are planning to go on Dec 26 because I feel there is the need for Harith to adapt to the weather and time difference before competing in the prestigious championship,” she told The Borneo Post yesterday.
Harith is one of two Sarawakians among about 25 players selected. SRAM is sponsoring nine from the Bukit Jalil Sports School (BJSS) while the rest like Harith fall under the ‘pax account’ category.
“Full refund for whatever that we have spent, excluding food, will be given if he reaches the semifinals,” Nur Farhani explained when met at Sekolah Kebangsaan Jalan Bintang (SKJB) here. She added that if her son manages to reach the semifinals, she will donate some of the money to SKJB where Harith is currently studying.
“I just got a phone call from NSC (National Sports Council) on Tuesday and they say they will provide some fund but it was not mentioned how much,” the housewife said adding that her effort to get sponsorship from Squash Racquets Association of Sarawak (SRAS) and Miri Squash Association was to no avail.
Meanwhile, SKJB headmaster Ahmad Othman said the school’s Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) is assisting Harith.
“We are planning a special fund for him to continue on with this sport as he is a disciplined student who excels in both academics and co-curriculum, a character that our school always emphasizes on and the school also gives him incentives in any contest that he won.
“We believe he will succeed in this sport and what is important for him is the experience he gained and not only that he will be bringing the Sarawak name, he will also set the pace and be an example to other students and youngsters to achieve what he has got so far,” Ahmad added while revealing that SKJB is the only school in the state with its own regional training center for squash.
Eleven year old Harith has been playing squash since he was eight. In August this year, he was ranked fifth in the Asian Squash Federation (ASF) for the Junior Asia below 13 years category.
While other students are keenly awaiting the year-end holidays he will be kept busy with the Ong Beng Hee Trophy in Kuantan from Nov 20-26 and the Kuala Lumpur Open from Dec 4-10.
For those interested in helping Harith fulfill his dream, they can contact Nur Farhani at 012-8725528. Her bank account number is (RHB Bank) 11118200082530.
Members of the public can also contact SKJB at 085-429506 for further details.