Friday, April 26

Squash youngster aims to bolster international profile


Harith (fourth left) holds the Ong Beng Hee Cup and KL Junior Open medal as he poses with his family. His parents Jefri Ahmad and Nur Farhana are at far right.

The state squash team in a photo-call during the KL Open with Harith (fourth left) and Sarawak coach Jess Tay (centre).

MIRI: 11 year-old Harith Danial Jefri hopes to build on his recent successes in Malaysia as he looks forward to further raise his international status in squash.

It was a 1-2 finish for Sarawak in the 19th Ong Beng Hee Cup for Boys Under-12 held in Kuantan from Nov 21-26 when the Miri youngster beat teammate Chris Lau 11-9, 11-9, 12-10 in the final.

The victory made Harith the first Sarawakian to lift the prestigious title with his name engraved on the trophy.

It was followed by another achievement at the 11th KL Junior Open held at the National Squash Centre, Bukit Jalil from Dec 5-10.

He made it to the Under-13 final only to lose to Pakistan’s Mohammad Hamza Khan 6-11, 6-11, 6-11 in the international tournament which attracted 776 players from 19 countries.

Harith has his coach Jewan Singh Chal and mother Nur Farhani Chang @ Stephanie Melinda Chang to thank for pushing him since he took up the sport at eight years old.

“There are times when I feel the pressure but I have people around me that motivate me to go further and, nonetheless, joining various championships polishes my skills to be better for the next tournament and at the same time, I get to meet squash athletes from all over the world,” Harith told The Borneo Post yesterday.

Harith’s next big tournament will be the British Junior Open 2018 in Birmingham from Jan 3 to 7 where he is aiming to make it to the semi-finals.

His mother will accompany him to London at the end of this month. Following their appeal for funds for the trip published in The Borneo Post last month she said only the National Sports Council was able to chip in.

“We will go to London at the end of the month so that Harith can adapt to the weather and time difference before competing in the prestigious championship and the funding for this trip comes from National Sports Council and our own money only,” Nur Farhani added.