DALIAN: Pakistan's world junior champion Hamza Khan won't be coming, and in his absence, Malaysia's Joachim Chuah is top seeded in the boys' Under-19 of the the Asian Junior Squash Championships (AJSC) in Dalian, China, from Aug 16-20.
And it could be an all Malaysian final as compatriot Harith Danial is the second seed.
Joachim battled Hamza at the World Junior Championships in Melbourne last month, and came out second best, 8-11, 11-9, 7-11, 10-12 in the quarter-finals.
Nonetheless, Joachim is in high spirits for the AJSC after winning the recent Hong Kong Under-19 title.
Joachim, who is studying at the Trinity College in Connecticut, United States, defeated Kim Kun of South Korea 11-7, 11-6, 11-7 in the final.
Joachim, who also lost to a Pakistani, Noor Zaman, in the Under-19 final at last year's AJSC in Pattaya, will want nothing less than the top of the podium this time.
Joachim said his path to the AJSC title looks good in the absence of Hamza.
"Winning the Hong Kong Junior title last week will motivate me to play much harder in Dalian.
"This will be my sixth and final outing in the AJSC, and I want to end it with a bang," said Joachim, who won the AJSC Under-13 title in Amman, Jordan, in 2017.
Joachim, who received a bye in the first round, is expected to face joint ninth seed Salem Al-Malki of Qatar in the second round.
He is likely to face joint fifth seed Tse Jat of Hong Kong in the quarter-finals and joint third seed Shaurya Bawa of India in the last four.
Defending champion Aira Azman, who won the individual silver in the World Junior Championships in Melbourne last month, is the top seed in the girls' Under-19.