MALAYSIA may have missed on winning back-to-back Asian Junior boys' singles titles in Gimcheon, South Korea on Sunday but Soong Joo Ven's performance has raised the hopes of securing the crown again next year.
Eventual champion Kento Momota of Japan will be overaged while other contenders like Sameer Verma of India and Shesar Hiren Rustavito of Indonesia would have moved onto to the senior scene making Joo Ven the favourite to secure the title that eluded him this time.
Joo Ven, 17, was not even expected to go all the way to the final due to his inexperience on the international stage but he has progressed into a quality player under national junior head Zhao Kejian's guidance and he can provide the cheers next year if he continues to improve.
Joo Ven will get an early opportunity make amends in the World junior Championships in Chiba, Japan on Oct 25-Nov 3 but it will be a more difficult task with Kento playing in his own backyard while Sameer and Shesar will also be on a mission graduate into the senior ranks with the world junior crown to their name.
However, Joo Ven can hope to emulate Zulfadli Zulkifli's Asian-World Junior double achieved next year and Malaysia have a stronger bid for both crowns with Soo Teck Zhi, the second ranked junior, also battling for honours.
Malaysia have run out of depth in the boys' doubles but with Yap Kim Hock in the helm, it could only be a momentary setback as the coach has proved his ability to churn out quality pairs since 2009 and there could be a new potential pair emerging in next year's edition.