Shuttler Bryan eyes smooth junior-senior transition

KUALA LUMPUR: After concluding his junior career with two bronze medals at the recently concluded World Junior Championships in Spokane, United States, doubles player Bryan Jeremy Goonting is now focusing on his next goal - to make a mark on the senior stage.

Bryan, 18, will reunite with his 19-year-old partner, Choi Jian Sheng, aiming to break into the world's top 100 as quickly as possible.

Bryan is in high spirits after a successful brief one-off partnership with 17-year-old Aaron Tai.

Together, they not only clinched the boys' doubles bronze but also played a pivotal role in helping Malaysia secure a bronze medal in the mixed team event.

Bryan has been a part of the senior team, training under the watchful eyes of Rexy Mainaky and Tan Bin Shen since his promotion earlier in January. This move was intended to fast-track the development of top junior talents.

Together with Jian Sheng, the duo has made significant strides, most notably winning their first senior title at the Maldives International Series in August.

Their next challenge is the Super 100 Indonesia Masters 2 in Surabaya from Oct 24-29.

"My next target is to crack the top 100. With Jian Sheng, we currently sit at No. 134, which isn't too far off. We believe a few more solid results will get us there," said Bryan.

"Training with the senior team has helped me improve my skills. It made more more competitive even in junior competitions.

"I'm thankful for the chance to train and spar alongside senior players like Aaron (Chia) and (Soh) Wooi Yik. They mentor me and are always eager to assist and guide me."

In Spokane, Bryan conceded that he and Aaron missed a golden opportunity to advance to the boys' doubles final.

They battled hard but lost 21-18, 15-21, 21-14 to the eventual silver medallists, Lai Po Yu-Tsai Fu Cheng of Taiwan.

" A lacklustre play in the third game cost us a spot in the final," Bryan said.

"Overall, I'm quite pleased to have secured two bronze medals for Malaysia. However, I would've been even more elated with a gold or silver."

China once again demonstrated their dominance as a badminton powerhouse by claiming two more gold medals in Spokane. They emerged as overall champions with a tally of three gold, two silver, and two bronze.

After securing the Suhandinata Cup, Ma Shang-Zhu Yi Jun and Liao Pian Yi-Zhang Jia Han added to their country's medal count with victories in the boys' doubles and mixed doubles.

However, China was denied another gold when Indonesia's Alwi Farhan bested Hu Zhe An in the boys' singles. Japan clinched the girls' doubles gold through Maya Taguchi-Aya Tamaki.

The stagnation of Malaysia's badminton prowess is becoming evident, especially as their northern neighbor, Thailand, continues to produce world junior champions. The latest to join this elite group is 16-year-old Pitchamon Opatniputh, who clinched the girls' singles title.

Still eligible to compete in the next two editions, Pitchamon has the potential to follow in the footsteps of fellow Thais Ratchanok Intanon (2009-2011) and Kunlavut Vitidsarn (2017-2019) by winning three consecutive titles.

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